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"the rise and fall of THE IRISH NATION." 

With a Memoir of the Author j an Essay on Irish Wit and Humour ; 
and Notes and Corrections 











Sir Souaf) Barnncjton's ^personal Sl^ctcJjcs 




The first edition of the Personal Sketches of his own 
Times, by Sir Jonah Barringtou, Member of the Irish 
Parliament, and Judge of the High Court of Admiralty 
in Ireland, was published in 1827; a second edition 
appeared in 1830, and a supplementary volume in 1832. 
The third volume has become not only scarce but a 
curiosity. The whole work is now presented to the 
public complete, with such revision as circumstances 
required. Its value will be easily conceived. It amply 
presents the most striking features of a social state, such 
as never existed in any part of the civilised world, save 
in Ireland, in Barrington s time. The most wonderful 
portions of these Sketches are such as owe least to the 
author's invention or vivacity ; and they will also be the 
most suggestive to the moralist and the legislator. 

The additional matter has been limited to necessary 
illustration. The memoirs of Mrs. Jordan and of Sir 
Jonah have been drawn up with care, and from reliable 
sources, with a rejection of trivial gossip. The article on 
Irish Wit and Humoiu:, it is hoped, will be acceptable as 
a contribution to the general temper of the work. The 
illustrations of this article are original, and have never 
been published till now. This edition is confidently en- 
trusted to candid criticism. 

An allusion to the original arrangement in three 
^'olumes has been, once or twice, fitly retained. 



The compilation by me of a medley of this description 
may appear rather singular. Indeed, I myself think it 
so, and had got nearly half-way through it before I could 
reasonably account for the thing ; — more especially as it 
was by no means commenced for mercenary purposes. 
The fact is, I had long since engaged my mind and time 
on a work of real public importance ; and so far as that 
work was circulated, my literary ambition was more than 
gratified by the approbation it received. But it has so 
happened, that my publishers, one after another, have 
been wanting in the qualification of stability ; and hence, 
my Historic Memoirs of Ireland have been lying fast 
asleep, in their own sheets, on the shelves of three suc- 
cessive booksellers or their assignees ; and so ingeniously 
were they scattered about, that I found it impossible for 
some years to collect them. This was rather provoking, 
as there were circumstances connected with the work, 
which, be its merits what they may, would, in my opinion, 
have ensured it an extensive circulation. However, I 
have at length finished the Memoirs in question, which 
I verily believe are now about to be published in reality, 
and will probably excite sundry difi"erences of opinion 
and shades of praise or condemnation (both of the book 
and the author) among his Majesty's liege subjects. 



For the purpose of completing that work, I had lately 
re-assumed my habit of writing ; and being tired of so 
serious and responsible a concern as Memoirs of Ireland 
and the Union, I began to consider what species of em- 
ployment might lightly wear away the long and tedious 
winter evenings of a demi-invalid ; and recollecting that 
I could neither live for ever nor was sure of being the 
"last man," I conceived the idea of looking over and 
burning a horse-load or two of letters, papers, and frag- 
ments of all descriptions, which I had been carrying 
about in old trunks (not choosing to leave them at any- 
body's mercy), and to which I had been perpetually 

The execution of this inflammatory project 1 im- 
mediately set about with vast assiduity and correspond- 
ing success ; and doubtless, with very great advantage 
to the literary reputation of an immense number of my 
former correspondents as well as my own. After having 
made considerable progress, I found that some of the 
fragments amused myself, and I therefore began to con- 
sider whether they might not also amuse other people. 
I was advised to make selections from my store, particu- 
larly as I had for near half-a-century kept — not a diary 
- — ^but a sort of rambling chronicle, wherein I made notes 
of matters which, from time to time, struck my fancy. 
Some of these memoranda were illegible ; others just 
sufficient to set my memory working ; some were sad, 
and some were cheerful ; some very old, others recent. 
In fine, I began to select ; but I soon found that anything 
like a regular series was out of the question ; so I took 
a heap indiscriminately, picked out the subjects that 
amused me most, wrote a list of their several headings, 



which were very numerous ; and, as his Majesty pricks 
for sherifis, so did I for subjects, and thereby gathered 
as many as I conceived would make two or three volumes. 
My next process was to make up court-dresses for my 
Sketches and Fragments, such as might facilitate their 
introduction into respectable company, without observing 
strict chronological sequence, to which I am aware light 
readers have a rooted aversion. 

This laudable occupation sers^ed to amuse me and to 
fill up the blanks of the winter evenings ; and being 
finished, the residue of the papers re-deposited, and the 
trunks locked again, I requested the publisher of my 
Historic Memoirs also to set my Personal Sketches 
afloat. This he undertook to do : and they are now sent 
out to the public — the icorld, as it is called ; and the 
reader {gentle reader is too hackneyed a term to be 
employed by me) is fully at liberty to draw from them 
whatever deductions he pleases. All I have to say is, 
that the several matters contained herein are neither 
fictions nor essays, but relate to real matters of fact, and 
personages composed of flesh and blood. I have aimed 
at no display of either fancy or imagination ; nor have 
I set do^^Ti long dialogues, which could not possibly be 
recorded except when heroes and heroines carried short- 
hand writers in their pockets, which must have been 
peculiarly inconvenient. In speaking of fanciful matters, 
by-the-by, I may as well except my own opinions on 
certain subjects here and there interspersed, which I 
freely leave to the mercy of any one who is disposed to 
esteem them visionary. 

However, be it understood that I by no means 
intend this disclaimer as an assault on, but on the 



contrary as a distinguished compliment to, writers and to 
works of pure imagination — of improbability and im- 
possibility ! — inasmuch as such works prove an unlimited 
range of intellect and talent, on the part of the authors, 
for inventing matters of fact that never could have 
occurred, and conversations that never could have taken 
place — a talent which, when duly cultivated and prac- 
tised for the use of friends and private families, seldom 
fails to bring an author s name into most extensive circu- 
lation ; and if perchance he should get himself into any 
scrape by it, nothing is so likely as the exercise of the 
same talent of invention to get him out of it again. 

On the other hand, I must own, even against myself, 
that the writing of mere commonplace truths requires 
no talent whatsoever ; it is quite a humdrum straight- 
forward acquirement, which any person may attain. 
Besides, matter of fact is not at all in vogue just now; 
the disrepute under which truth in general at present 
labours in all departments and branches of literature has 
put it quite out of fashion even amongst the savans — so 
that chemistry and mathematics are almost the only sub- 
jects on the certainty of which the " nobility, gentry, and 
the public at large," appear to place any very consider- 
able reliance. 

Having thus, I hope, proved my candour at my own 
cost, the deduction is self-evident — namely, that the un- 
fortunate authenticity of these sketches must debar them 
from any competition with the tales and tattle of unso- 
phisticated invention ; when, for instance, scandal is true^ 
it is (as some ladies have assured me) considered by the 
whole sex as scarcely worth listening to, and actually 
requiring at least very considerable exaggeration to 



render it at all amusing ! I therefore greatly fear I may 
not, in this instance, experience so much of their favour 
as I am always anxious to obtain ; my only consolation 
is, that when their desire to indulge an amiable appetite 
for scandal is very ardent, they may find ample materials 
in every booksellers shop and haut-ton society to gratify 
the passion. 

I feel now necessitated to recur to another point, and 
I do it at the risk of being accused of egotism. I hope, 
however, I can advance a good reason for my proceeding — 
namely, that on reading over some of the articles whereof 
this melange is composed, I freely admit, that if I were 
not very intimately acquainted with myself, I might be 
led at least into a puzzle as to the writer's genuine senti- 
ments on many points of theology and politics. Now, I 
wish, seriously speaking, to avoid on these subjects all 
ambiguity ; and therefore, as responsible for the opinions 
put forth in the following sketches, I beg to state that I 
consider myself strictly orthodox both in politics and 
theology — that is to say, I profess to be a sound Protes- 
tant without bigotr}^, and an hereditary royalist without 
ultraism. Liberty I love — Democracy I hate — Fanati- 
cism I denounce ! These principles I have ever held and 
avowed, and they are confirmed by time and observation. 
I own that I have been what is generally called a loyalist, 
and I have been also what is generally called a patriot ; 
but I never was either unqualifiedly. I always thought, 
and I think still, that they never should and never need 
be (upon fair principles) opposed to each other. I can 
also see no reason why there may not be patriot kings as 
well as patriot subjects — a patriot minister, indeed, may 
be more problematical. In my public life I have met 



with but one transaction that even threatened to make 
my patriotism overbalance my loyalty — I allude to the 
purchase and sale of the Irish Parliament, called a Union, 
which I ever regarded as one of the most flagrant public 
acts of corruption on the records of history, and certainly 
the most mischievous to this empire — except our absurd- 
ities at Vienna. I believe very few men sleep the 
sounder for having supported either the former or the 
latter measures, though some, it is true, went to sleep a 
good deal sooner than they expected when they carried 
those measures into execution. 

I must also observe that, as to the detail of politics, 
I feel now very considerable apathy. My day for actual 
duty is past, and I shall only further allude, as a simple 
casuist, to the slang terms in which it has become the 
fashion to dress up the most important subjects of British 
statistics — subjects on which certain of these sketches 
appear to have a remote bearing, and on which my ideas 
may possibly be misunderstood. 

I wish it therefore to be considered as my humble 
opinion, that what in political slang is termed Radical 
Reform is in reality proximate revolution; Universal 
Suffrage appears to me to be inextinguishable uproar ; 
Annual Parliaments nothing less thd^n periodical blood- 
shed. My doubts as a casuist, with these impressions 
on my mind, must naturally be, how the orderly folks of 
Great Britain would relish proximate revolution, inextin- 
guishable uproar, and periodical bloodshed ? I do not 
extend the query to the natives of my own country, 
because since his Majesty was there nobody has taken 
much notice of them ; and besides the people in Ireland 
having very little to eat and no amusement at all, the 



aforesaid pastimes might divert them, or at least their 
hunger, and of course be extremely acceptable to a great 
body of the population. 

As I also perceive some articles in these sketches 
touching upon matters relative to Popes, Catholic coun- 
tries, etc., lest I may be misconstrued or misrepresented 
on that head, I beg to observe, that I meddle not at all 
in the controversy of Catholic Emancipation. The 
Doctors employed differ so essentially in opinion that, as 
it frequently falls out on many other consultations, they 
may lose their patient ^yhilst debating on the prescrip- 
tion; in truth, I don't see how the Doctors can ever 
agree, as the prescribers must necessarily take the assay, 
and one half of them verily believe that they should be 
poisoned thereby! — "Amongst ye be it, blind harpers !" 

I apprehend I have now touched on most of the topics 
which occurred to me as requiring a word of explanation. 
I repeat that this book is only to be considered as a de- 
sultory melange — the whim of a winters evening — a 
mere chance-selection. I shall therefore make no sort of 
apology for inaccuracies as to unity of time, for defective 
connection, or the like. It amused my leisure hours, and 
if it fortunately amuses those of other people I shall re- 
ceive a great deal of satisfaction. 


May 28, 1827. 







Family mansion described — Library — Garden — Anecdotes of 
my family — State of landlord and tenant in 17 GO — The gout 
— Ignorance of the peasantry ; extraordinary anomaly in the 
loyalty and disloyalty of the Irish country gentlemen as to 
James L, Charles I., Charles II., James II., and William — 
Ancient toasts — My great-grandfather. Colonel Jolin Bar- 
rington, hanged on his own gate ; but saved by Edward 
Doran, trooper of King James — Irish customs, anecdotes, 


My great-aunt, Elizabeth — Besieged in her castle of Morct — My 
uncle seized and hanged before the walls — Attempted ab- 
duction of Elizabeth, whose forces surprise the castle of 
Eeuben — Severe battle . . . . . .12 


Instances of attachment formerly of the lower orders of Irish to 
the gentry — A field of corn of my father's reaped in one 
night without his knowledge — My grandfather's servants 
cut a man's ears off by misinterpretation — My grandfather 
and grandmother tried for the fact — xVcquitted — The colliers 
of Donane — Their fidelity at my election at Ballynakill, 

1790 25 

VOL. I. h 





My godfathers — Lord Maryborough. — Personal description and 
extraordinary character of Mr. Michael Lodge — My early 
education — At home — At school — My private tutor, Eev. 
P. Crawley, described — Defects of the University course — 
Lord Donoughmore's father — Anecdote of the Yice-Provost 
— A country sportsman's education . . . .30 


The Huntsman's cottage — Preparations for a seven days' carousal 
— A cock-fight — Welsh main — Harmony — A cow and a 
hogshead of wine consumed by the party — Comparison be- 
tween former dissipation and that of the present day — A 
dandy at dinner in Bond Street — Captain Parsons Hoye and 
his nephew — The nephew disinherited by his uncle for 
dandyism ........ 38 


Waking the piper — Curious scene at my brother's hunting-lodge 
— Joe Kelly's and Peter Alley's heads fastened to the wall 
— Operations practised in extricating them . . .44 


The army — Irish volunteers described — Their military ardour — 
The author inoculated therewith — He grows cooler — The 
Church — The Faculty — The Law — Objections to each — 
Colonel Barrington removes his establishment to the Irish 
capital— A country gentleman taking up a city residence . 48 


Murder of Captain O'Flaherty by Mr. Lanegan, his son's tutor, 
and Mrs. O'Flaherty — The latter, after betraying her accom- 
plice, escapes — Trial of Lanegan — He is hanged and 
quartered at Dublin — Terrific appearance of his supposed 
ghost to his pupil, David Lander, and the author, at the 



Temple in London — Lander nearly dies of friglit-j— Lanegan's ^^"^ 
extraordinary escape — Xot even suspected in Ireland — He 
gets off to France, and enters the monastery of La Trappe — 
A churchyard anecdote — My own superstition nearly fatal 
to me ........ 52 


Marriage of my eldest brother — The bride's-maid, Miss D. W. 
— Female attractions not dependent on personal beauty — 
^Mutual attachment — Betrothal of the author, and his de- 
parture for London, to study for the Bar . . .60 


Sketch of the company and inmates — Lord ^lountmorris — Lieu- 
tenant Gam Johnson, Ti.N. — Sir John and Lady O'Flaherty 
— Mrs. Wheeler — Lady and Miss Barry — Memoir and cha- 
racter of Miss Barry, afterwards ^Irs. Baldwin — Euinous 
effects of a dramatic education exemplified — Lord Mount- 
morris's duel with the Honourable Francis Hely Hutchinson 
at Donnybrook — His Lordship wounded — Marquis of Ely, 
his second ........ 64 


Strictures on change of manners — floral influence of dress — The 

three beauties — Curious trial respecting Lady ■ 

Termination favourable to her ladyship — Interesting and 

affecting incidents of that lady's life — Sir E M , 

his character, and cruelty — Lady M. married against lier 

will — Quits her husband — Eeturns . . . .70 


The three classes of gentlemen in Ireland described — IriaJi 
poets — ^rr. Thomas Flinter and D. Henesey — The Bard — 
Peculiarities of the peasants- — Their ludicrous misinforma- 
tion as to distances accounted for — Civility of a waiter — 
Their equivocation and misdirection of travellers to different 
places ........ 79 





Their general character — Objections commonly made to them — 
Answers thereto — Earl Farnham's hospitality — Moll Harding 
— Accident nearly of a fatal nature to the Author . .85 


Duel of my brother, William Barrington, with Mr. M'Kenzie 
— He is killed by his antagonist's second, General Gillespie 
— The General's character — Tried for murder — Judge Brad- 
street's charge — Extraordinary incidents of the trial — The 
jury arranged — Gillespie goes to India — Killed there — The 
High Sheriff (Mr. Lyons) challenged by mistake — His hair 
cut off by Henry French Barrington — Exhibited in the 
ball-room— The Curl Club formed . . . .88 


My first entrance into the Irish House of Commons — Dinner at 
Sir John Parnell's — Commencement of my intimacy with 
public men of celebrity — Maiden speech — I attack Grattan 
and Curran — Suicide of Mr. Thoroton — Lord De Blacquiere 
— His character . . . . . . .96 


Anecdote of Tottenham in Ms hoots — Interesting trial of the 

Earl of Kingston for murder . . . ■ . .104 


Sir John Stuart Hamilton — Sir Eichard Musgrave — Sir Edward 
Newenham — Sir Yesey Colclough — Sir Frederick Flood — 
Sir John Blacquiere — Sir Boyle Eoche — His curious bulls — 
Their characters and personal description — Anecdotes and 
hon-mots . . . . . . . .110 





The author fii-st placed in office by Lord Westmoreland — Made 
King's Counsel by Lord Clare — Jealousy of the Bar — De- 
scription of Kilkenny Castle — Trial of the Earl of Ormonde 
for outrage at Kilkenny — Liberal present from the Earl of 
Ormonde to the author, and his subsequent letter . .119 


Singular anecdotes of Dr. Achmet Borumborad — He proposes to 
erect baths in Dublin, in the Turkish fashion — Obtains 
grants from Parliament for tliat purpose — The Baths well 
executed — The Doctor's banquet — Ludicrous anecdote of 
nineteen Xoblemen and Members of Parliament fidling into 
his grand salt-water bath — The accident nciirly causes the 
ruin of the Doctor and his establishment — He falls in love 
with ^liss Hartigan, and marries her — Sudden metamor- 
phosis of the Turk into ^Mr. Patrick Joyce . . .125 


The institution of Orangemen — United Irishmen — Protestant 
ascendency — Dr. Duigenan — Origin, progress, and customs 
of the aldermen of Skinners' Alley described — Their revels 
— Orange toast, never before published — The aldermen 
throw Mr. M'Mahon, an apothecary, out of a window for 
striking the bust of King William — Anecdotes of Sir John 
Bourke and Sir Francis Gould — The Pope's bull of absolu- 
tion to Sir Francis G . . . . .133 


Dublin corporation anecdote — Splendid triennial procession of 

the Dublin corporation, called Fringes (franchises), described 140 


Rebellion in Ireland,, in 1798 — Mr. Waddy's Castle — A priest 
cut in two by the portcullis, and partly eaten by Waddy 



— Dinner-party at Lady Colclougli's — Names and char- ^^^^ 
acters of the company, including Mr. Bagenal Harvey, 
Captain Keogh, etc. — Most of them executed soon after — 
Tour through and state of County Wexford, after the battles 
and storming of the town — Colonel Walpole killed and his 
regiment defeated at Gorey . . . . .145 


Counsellor Theobald Wolf Tone — His resemblance to Mr. 
Croker — He is ordered to be hanged by a military court — 
General Craig attached in Court of Common Pleas — Tone's 
suicide — Cruel suggestion respecting him . . .153 


My contest for Dublin city — Supported by Grattan, Ponsonby, 
Plunkett, and Curran — Singularity of a canvass for Dublin 
— The election — Grattan's philippic, never before published 
— Memoirs of Mr. John Giffard, called the "dog in office" 
— Horish the chimney-sweeper's bon-mot . . .156 


Eichard Brinsley Sheridan's contest for County Wexford, 
omitted by all his pseudo-biographers — Duel of Mr. Alcock 
and Mr. Colclough on a question respecting Mr. Sheridan's 
poll — Colclough killed — Mr. Alcock's trial — His sister. Miss 
Alcock, dies lunatic in consequence — Marquess of Ely tried 
for an outrage at Wexford, and fined . . . .165 


Lord Clonmell, chief-justice of the Irish Court of King's Bench 
— His character — Lady Tyrawley's false charge against him 
— Consequent duel between him and Lord Tyrawley — 
Eclaircissement — Lord Clonmell' s hints " How to rule a 
Wife" . . . . . . . .171 





My first acquaintance with the Duke of 'VN'ellington and the late 
Marquess of Londonderry, at a dinner at my own house — 
Some memoirs and anecdotes of the former as a public man 
— My close connection with government — Extraordinary 
conference between Lord Castlereagh, Mr. Cooke, aud me, in 
August 1798 — Singular communication — Offers made to mo 
for succession as solicitor-general — I decline the terms pro- 
posed — Lord Castlereagh's letter to me — Character of JMr. 
Pelham . . . . .175 


Quarrel between Lord Norbury and the author in the House of 
Commons — Curran s bon-mot — Dinner at Lord Eedesdale's, 
who attempts being agreeable, but is annoyed by Lord 
Norbury (then "Mr. Toler) — Counsellor O'Farrell — Lord Nor- 
bury and young Burke — His Lordship presides at Carlow 
assizes in the character of Hawthorn . . . .184 


Mr. Grattan in his sedan-chair — The point of honour — Mr. 
Egan's gift of second sight — Tlie guillotine and executioner 
— Colonel Burr, Vice-President of the United States, and 
Mr. Eandolph — Mr. Grattan in masquerade — Death of that 
illustrious patriot, and strictures on his interment in "West- 
minster Abbey — Letter from the author to his son, Henry 
Grattan ........ 190 


Lord Aldborough quizzes the Lord Chancellor — Voted a libeller 
by the House of Peers — His spirited conduct — Sentenced 
to imprisonment in Newgate by the Court of King's Bench — 
Memoirs of Mr. Knaresborough — His extraordinary trial — 



Sentenced to death, but transported — Escapes from Botany 
Bay, returns to England, and is committed to Newgate . 198 


Sketch of his character — Personal description — Lodgings at 
Carlo w — Mr. Curran and Mr. Godwin — Scene with Miss 
Hughes — Mr. Currants notion of his own prowess — The dis- 
qualifications of a wig — Lord and Lady Carleton — Curran 
in 1812 — An attorney turned cobbler — Curran's audience 
of the Count d'Artois .205 


Observations on the law of libel, particularly in Ireland — 
Hoy's Mercury" — Messrs. Van Trump and Epaphroditus 
Dodridge — Former leniency regarding cases of libel contrasted 
with recent severity — Lord Clonmell and the Irish bar — Mr. 
Magee, of the " Dublin Evening Post " — Festivities on "Fiat 
Hill" — Theophilus Swift and his two sons — His duel with 
the Duke of Eichmond— The "Monster !"— Swift libels the 
Fellows of Dublin University — His curious trial — Contrast 
between the English and Irish bars — Mr. James Fitzgerald 
— Swift is found guilty, and sentenced to Newgate — Dr. 
Burrows, one of the Fellows, afterwards libels Mr. Swift, and 
is convicted — Both confined in the same apartment at New- 
gate 219 


Biographical and characteristic sketch of Dean Kirwan — His ex- 
traordinary eloquence — the peculiar powers of Sheridan, 
Curran, and Grattan contrasted — Observations on pulpit, bar, 
and parliamentary oratory — Daniel O'Connell one of the best 
orators of any age ....... 233 


Eeception of the late Queen Caroline (then Princess of Wales) 
at the drawing-room held after the " Delicate Investigation " 



— Her depression and subsequent levity — Queen Charlotte ^'^^'^ 
and the Princess compared and contrasted — Reflections on 
the incidents of that day and evening — The Thames on a 
VauxhaU night 242 


Characteristic and personal sketches of three Irish barristers : 
Mr. William Fletcher (afterwards chief-justice of the Court 
of Common Pleas), Mr. John Egan (afterwards judge of 
Dublin County), and Mr. Bartholomew Hoare, King's Counsel 
— Lord Yelverton's dinner-party .... 247 


The hoUowness of interested popularity illustrated in the ex- 
ample of Mr. Korcot — The dilemma of a gamester — Tlie last 
resource — The " faithful " valet — Mr. Xorcot turns Mahometan 25 1 


Baron Monckton — Judge Boyd — Judge Henn — Legal blunder of 
a judge, and Curran's bon-mot thereon — Baron Power — His 

suicide — Crosby Morgal's spirit of emulation — Judge Williani 
Johnson — Curious anecdote of him and the author — 
Judge Kelly — His character and bon-mots — Lord Kilwarden 
— His character — Murder of him and his nephew the Rev. 
Mr. Wolfe — ^Ir. Emmet executed — Memoir of that person — 
Judge Robert Johnson — Arrested in Ireland, and tried in 
London, for a libel written on Lord Redesdale in Ireland and 
published by Cobbett — Doubts of the legality of his Lordship's 
trial — He is found guilty ..... 255 


Passion for duelling in Ireland — Ancient duel before the judges 
and law authorities, etc. etc., at the Castle of Dubhn — List 
of official and judicial duellists in author's time — Family 
weapons described — The Fire-eaters' Society — Their chiefs — 
Elegant institution of the Knights of Tara — Description of 



them — Their exhibitions and meetings — The rules of duelling 
and points of honour established by the Fire-eaters, called the 
Thirty-six Commandments — Singular duel between the author 
and Mr. Eichard Daly, a remarkable duellist and fop — Daly 
hit — Author's second, the celebrated Balloon Crosby — His 
singular appearance and character . . . .270 


Frequency of election-duels — Ludicrous affair between Frank 
Skelton and an exciseman — Frank shoots the exciseman and 
runs away — His curious reasons — Sir J. Bourke's quadrille 
duel, with five hits — Mr. H. D. Grady's remarkable meeting 
with Counsellor O'Maher — O'Maher hit — Civil proposition 

of G 's second — G 's gallant letter to the author on his 

election for Maryborough — Honourable Barry Yelverton chal- 
lenged by nine officers at once — His elucidation of the Fire- 
eaters' Eesolutions — Lord Kilkenny's memorable duels and 
lawsuits — His Lordship is shot by Mr. Ball, an attorney — The 
heir to his title (the Hon. Somerset Butler) challenges Coun- 
sellor Burro wes — The latter hit, but his life saved by some gin- 
gerbread nuts — Lord Kilkenny's duel with Counsellor Byrne 
— The counsellor wounded — Counsellor Guinness escapes a 
rencontre — Sketch of Counsellor M'l^ally — His duel with the 
author — His three friends, all afterwards hanged — M'Nally 
wounded — Bon-mot of Mr. Harding — The affair highly bene- 
ficial to M'JSTally — His character, marriage, and death — Ancient 
mode of fighting duels — The lists described — Duel of Colonel 
Barrington with Squire Gilbert on horseback — Both wounded 
—Gilbert's horse killed . . ... .285 


Curious fatality in the Hartpole family — Characteristic sketch of 
the last of the name — Description of Shrewl Castle — The 
chapel and cemetery — Strictures on epitaph- writing — Eccen- 
tricities of the Earl of Aldborough — His Lordship proposes 
his sister. Lady Sarah Stratford, as returning officer for the 
borough of Baltinglass — Consequent disturbances — The 
North Briton put on his mettle, but out-manoeuvred — "Lend- 



ing to tlie Lord " — Successful conspiracy to marry Hartpole ^^'^^ 
to the daughter of a village innkeeper — He forms an attach- 
ment to Miss Maria Otway, whom he marries, under the plea 
of his previous connection being illegal — Unfortunate nature 
of this union — Separation of the parties — Hartpole's voyage 
to Portugal, his return and death — Sundry other anecdotes of 
the Stratford family 301 


Sketch of the character of Mr. Hamilton Rowan — His Quixotic 
spirit of philanthropy — Case of Mary Neil taken up by Mr. 
Rowan — Dinner-club among the briefless barristers of Dublin 
— Apparition of Mr. Hamilton Rowan and his dog — ^lore 
frightened than hurt — An unanswerable query — Mr. Rowan's 
subsequent adventures — The Rev. Mr. Jackson — Brought 
up to receive sentence for high-treason, and expires in 
Court 327 

An amputated chapter . . . . . .335 


Humorous story of Father O'Leary and a bear — Mistaken notions 
respecting Ireland on the Continent — Lord Ventry and his 
tenant : an anecdote characteristic of the Irish peasant . 336 


The Countess Dowager of Mayo leaves Ireland — Her estate pur- 
chased by the author — Dunran — Lord Rossmore's apparition 340 


Remarks on Lady Morgan's novel of "The Wild Irish Girl," etc. 
— Prince O'Sullivan at Killarney — Miss Edgeworth's "Castle 
Rackrent " — Anecdote of Jonathan Clerk — " Florence Macar- 
thy" — Comparison between Lady Morgan and Thomas 



Moore as writers — The author's knowledge of both — " Cap- ^^"^ 
tain Eock" condemned — The "Irish Melodies" by Moore 
and Power — The harmonising of them by Sir John Steven- 
son — Anecdote of Mr. Thomas Moore and Mrs. Kelly . 347 


Poets and poetasters — Major Eoche's extraordinary poem on the 
Battle of Waterloo — A man's age discovered by his poetry — 
Evils of a motto — Amorous feelings of youth — Love- verses 
of a boy ; of a young man — " Loves of the Angels " — Dinner 
verses of an Oxonian — " The Highlander," a poem . .355 


The author's early visits to Crow Street Theatre — Interruptions 
of the University men — College pranks — Old Mr. Sheridan 
in " Cato " and in " Alexander the Great " — Curious scene 
introduced by mistake in the latter tragedy — Mr. Digges in 
the Ghost of Hamlet's father — Chorus of Cocks — The 
author's preference of comedy to tragedy — Modern comedy 
—The French stage 367 



Jonah Barringtox, bom 1760, was tlie fourth of sixteen 
cliildren of John Barrington of Knapton, near Abbey- 
leix, Queen's County, Ireland. He is principally re- 
membered for his Rise and Fall of the Irish Nation, 
Memoirs of Ireland, and Personal Sketches of his oivn 
Times ; the last being at once an autobiography and an 
assemblage of contemporaneous portraits. 

These Personal Sketches were, at the period of their 
publication, ^vhat would now be called a sensational 

They referred to so many events and so many persons 
of note that they were sought for by all polite society. 
The author was at the time himself a notability, and too 
much so for his own rest. He had held a high post ; had 
been intimate with the foremost men of his period ; and, 
strange to say, difficult and perilous as it was, he was 
trusted by both sides. It has been supposed that he 
acted a second Leonard M'Nally, but there is no proof 
of this, except indeed what may be derived by a mis- 
interpretation of his position. In the literal sense it 
was impossible ; for he was not engaged in the trials 
at aU. 

His hostility to the proposed measure of the Union 
was decided ; yet he became the channel of cormption to 



others who resisted government, and actually bought over 
one at least. This he admits in his Rise and Fall of the 
Irish Nation. To defend such laxity of principle is im- 
possible, for his conduct shows that he was a Mr. Secretary 
Cooke ; a good tool for a tyrant, as James I. said of Sir 
Francis Bacon. It does not follow, however, that he acted 
M'Nally's part. The English reader requires to be told 
something of this person. M^Nally was a smart barrister 
in 1798, and was famous with the movement party by 
the warmth of his zeal in public and private. When the 
causes celebres came on he was selected by the un- 
fortunates as counsel for defence. As such, he became 
possessed of secrets of the highest importance to the 
accused. These he betrayed to the crown-prosecutors, 
and thus dipped his hands in the blood of bosom friends 
for £300 a-year. The blood curdles at such relations. 
He was an able, vulgar, subtle man. Magan was 
paid merely to set and hang his friend Lord Edward 
Fitzgerald. M'Nally was paid to defend those who 
trusted in him most, was also paid by their political 
foes to hang them, and earned his fee and renown 
both ways. 

Sir Jonah Barrington bought a friend for the minister, 
but I cannot find any grounds of suspicion that he ever 
sold one. On the contrary, he did a good deal to save 
some, as we shall see in these Sketches, which in particu- 
lars of the kind are reliable. 

Sir Jonah Barrington in these pages tells his own 
history very minutely and facetiously. There are a few 
points on which he is reserved, as he had reason to be. 
He had ten brothers, of whom he mentions but four. 
The rest dwindled into obscurity by the decay of his 



liouse,"^' whicli was one of some condition in the Queen s 
County, wliere they had obtained considerable settlements 
in the time of Elizabeth. Of his impeachment for malver- 
sation in the High Court of Admiralty in Ireland I shall 
have to speak at the close. His relations are now of great 
interest, for he recalls a period of vital importance, and 
is a sincere painter of the manners of a people into whom 
the statesmen of Ens^land are examininor with laudable 
cviriosity and interest. His style is gossiping but piquant. 
Many parts of the first editions would now be utterly 
trivial, and some offensive ; these have been retrenched, 
not only in deference to an improved feeling, but to suit 
the better judgment of the times. Besides, a mere reprint 
would be forty yeai*s in arrear. What I have added has 
been derived from personal acquaintance with the con- 
temporaries of some of the parties mentioned by the 
author. The anecdotes are genuine, being simply selected 
from my private memoranda. 

The publishers have spared no trouble or expense in 
placing at my command whatever was thought neces- 
sary to insure the interest and value of this edition, so 
as to make it such a contribution to literature and political 
history as may stand the test of a fair criticism. 

The gaiety of Barring-ton's life plunged him into em- 
barrassment, from which he sought relief by many strata- 
gems, such as are recorded of Sheridan and his son, but 
more dangerous. How he extricated his plate from 
Stevenson, a pawnbroker, by asking him to dine with 
the grandees, and mortgaged his official salary, sunk 

* The estate of CuUenaghmore was sold to Sir John Parnell, and by him to 
Lord Norbury. The mansion is now a rain; and the "fighting" Barringtons 
are no more heard of. 



three times over, to one Collins, a saddler, are familiar 
stories in Dublin, but of no public interest. 

Notwithstanding bis wide mixture with society, he 
cultivated letters with much success if not diligence. No 
man of his time has left better evidence that, although 
he was not a powerful orator, he was adroit in composi- 
tion of that peculiar kind which Johnson brought into 
repute, and Burke and Grattan spoke — glittering indeed, 
but in them with the light of genius. It has had many 
imitators, but its value depends on the intellect that 
supplies the materials and adjusts the ornaments. To 
illustrate fair literary power, I shall select from the Rise 
and Fall of the Irish Nation a passage not of his very 
florid kind, but of a sort more in keeping with genuine 
good writing, making allowance for some inaccuracies of 
phrase. It will show that the Sketches were thrown off 
as such, by the hands of an ancient master. 

" The public characters of the Bishop of Derry and his 
more moderate rival were so extremely dissimilar, and 
their composition so totally repugnant, that any amalga- 
mation of sentiment was utterly impossible. A cautious 
attachment to regularity and order, a sincere love for the 
people, a polished courtly respect for the aristocracy, with 
a degree of popular ambition and a proportion of indi- 
vidual vanities, were the governing principles of Lord 
Charlemont during the whole of his political conduct. 
But, unfortunately, these were accompanied by a strong 
taint of that religious intolerance which has since been 
proved the interruption of Irish tranquillity. 

" No man in Ireland could do the honours of a review 
better ; and though his personal courage was undoubted, 
no man in Ireland was likely to do the duties of a battle 



worse, than Lord Charlemont. He guessed tlie extent of 
his own powers, and sedulously avoided any situation to 
which they might prove inadequate. If the people had 
not respected his virtues, they would not have submitted 
to his weakness ; and if he had not loved the people, he 
would not have sacrificed his tranquillity to command 
them. He was an excellent nurse, tender of the consti- 
tution, but dreading every effective remedy prescribed 
for its disorders. 

" Lord Charlemont saw clearly that the presidency of 
the National Convention was of vital consequence to the 
country, and the master-key of his own importance. He 
had his little as well as his great feelings, and both were 
set into action by this dilemma. He knew full well that 
if the bold and enterprising prelate were at the head of 
the Convention, he would lose all weioht with the o;overn- 
ment and all influence with the people. The measure 
was altogether too strong for the character of Lord 
Charlemont : he knew he would be incapable of governing 
this body if it once got into any leading-strings but his 
own ; and it was obvious that if his Lordship should get 
one step beyond his depth, he never could regain his 
j^osition. His friends, therefore, anticipated every means 
to ensure his nomination to the presidency. And the 
Bishop of Derry, before he was aware that there would 
be any eflfectual opposition to himself, found Lord Charle- 
mont actually placed in that situation, where he might 
restrain, if not counteract, the ultra energies of the re- 
forming party. This was the very step the government 
desired ; Earl Charlemont might be managed, but the 
Bishop of Derry would have been intractable. Lord 
Charlemont involuntarily became the tool of Govern- 

VOL. I. c 



ment, whilst he fancied he was labouring in the service 
of the people. From this moment the neutralising 
system, by which its president wished to conduct that 
assembly, became obvious. Everybody might foresee 
that, not only the Convention, but perhaps the Volunteer 
Associations, were likely to drop. 

" Many sensible men had apprehended that the bishop's 
politics might be too strong ; the very act of his attach- 
ing himself to Ireland, proved at once their vigour and 
eccentricity ; and hence the presidency of the Convention, 
in every point of view, became a measure of extreme 

" A few of the members of the House of Commons had 
declined their election to the Convention, but some of the 
ablest and most respectable members performed their 
duties alternately in both assemblies. The Lord-Lieu- 
tenant and his Privy Council at the same time held their 
sittings at the Castle, exactly midway bet wee a the two 
Parliaments. They received alternate reports from each, 
and undecided whether the strong or the passive system 
were least, or rather most, fraught with danger, they at 
length wisely adopted their accustomed course, and 
determined to take advantage of the chance of division, 
and of the moderation, ductility, and pride of Lord 

"It was artfully insinuated to Lord Charlemont, 
by the friends of Government, that the peace of the 
country was considered to be in his hands, and that 
he had accepted a situation of the most responsible 
nature, and that if he did not possess sufficient influence 
to curb the Convention he ought at once to resign 
the trust, and thereby give the Parliament a ground 



of requiring tlie immediate dissolution of its unconstitu- 
tional rival. 

" Lord Charlemont found himself in a situation of 
great em])arrassment. If he held the presidency, he was 
responsible for luiA-ing countenanced the organisation of 
the assembly. The bishop ^yould succeed him in his 
chair, and he would still be considered the inceptive 
promoter of whatever might be adopted by his successor. 
Lord Charlemont's pride resisted his resignation. He 
was too high to be commanded ; he was too feeble to 
control ; and he found himself in a state of great 
perplexity. After some deliberation, he adopted the 
suggestions of the courtiers, and was led blindfold to 
that deceptions course, which might answer his tranquil 
objects for the moment, but was beneath his character, 
and which must eventually have extingTiished all the 
popular influence of the Volunteers, and have destroyed 
that of the country. In fact, he lost himself, he sacrificed 
his country, and determined on a line of proceeding 
entirely unworthy of liis former conduct. If he could 
not govern, he resolved to temporise, divide, neutralise, 
and dissolve the assembly." 

This, it must be observ^ed, is not a candid estimate of 
Charlemont. Grattan, who of all others knew him best, 
has transmitted to us a deliberate, uncjualified, and ardent 
eulogium on " the good and gracious Earl." 

The advantages of biilli, a pleasing countenance, a 
lively conversation, cultivated talents, and a pushing 
activity, contributed largely to Barrington s rapid strides 
in public life. Called to the bar in 1787, he was made 
K.C. in 1793, and Judge of the Admiralty in 1798. He 
was returned to Parliament for the borouoh of Tuam in 



1792. He lost this seat in 1798 ; but sat for Banaglier 
in 1799, till he witnessed the extinction of the Irish 
legislature ; against which he boldly recorded a vote that 
deprived him of a lucrative sinecure, and put a stop to 
his preferment. 

The most remarkable event of Sir Jonah's life was the 
address of both Houses to the crown in 1830, praying for 
his removal from office. The Commissioners of Inquiry 
into the Courts of Justice in Ireland discovered that, in 
1805-1806 and 1810, he had appropriated monies which 
had come into his hands by his own adjudication in 
certain derelict cases. The Nancy derelict was the first 
of these cases, and evidence was given that two sums 
amounting to £682 : 8 : 8 disappeared. In 1810, Janu- 
ary 12, it was proved that the marshal of his court re- 
ceived £200 in the case of another derelict, paid into 
the registry of said court, and not accounted for, but in 
this way. By order of the judge, the registrar paid 
into Newcomen s bank the said sum to the account of Sir 
Jonah. This was daring dealing with public funds. 

The event immediately connected with his departure 
from Ireland was this : — At foot of a petition of a 
salvager, Mr. H. Pyne Masters, dated 29th May 1810, 
he signed an order for payment of £40. Meanwhile, he 
wrote to Masters requesting that he would not press his 
order for two months. Masters complied ; Sir Jonah, 
under this and other pressure, fled, and was not able to 
retrieve his disasters. The commissioners and the Govern- 
ment gave him several chances of clearing himself, but 
all the evidence was against him ; for the registrar was 
substantiated by the judge's own handwriting. 

In this state of afl'airs a select committee was ap- 



pointed to review the report of the commissioners ; and 
the House resolved that Sir Jonah Barrington has been 
guilty of serious malversation in -the discharge of his 
office of Judge of the High Court of Admiralty, and 
that it is unfit, and would be of bad example, that 
he should continue to hold said office. He was heard 
by counsel at the bar of the House. The defence was 
able, but mostly technical. It was contended that the 
attaching of a judge by committee exposed his inde- 
pendence to the minister. The answer was — If the 
Commons have not the discretionary privilege of ex- 
amining into the conduct of a judge, the very inde- 
pendence of a judge may become a nuisance and a moral 

Sir Kobert Wilson's proposition, that Sir Jonah Bar- 
rinorton be called to the bar to state what was the nature 
of the evidence he wished to produce in abatement, had 
only the support of four members. Sir E., then Mr. 
Secretary Peel, pushed the business forward, and the 
address for removal was carried. The Lords agreed with 
little reluctance, and Sir Jonah ended a gay, bright, 
prodigal life in exile in 1832. He raised a name to be 
the butt of many a worse man. He has left sentences, 
even pages, full of generous sentiments, never deficient 
in humanity, often resplendent with virtue. 

Nevertheless what deplorable inconsistency in his 
conduct ! Bather than vote for the Union he resisted all 
temptations, and sacrificed the lucrative office of Ship- 
entries. Yet he did not disdain to act Government-broker 
with Mr. J. Bingham, to whom he was deputed to ascer- 
tain his price. He never fails to extol good principles 
and generous actions ; yet does not hesitate to supply 



necessities, created by imprudence, by discreditable prac- 
tices. For his shortcomings he paid a bitter penalty in 
exile, solitude, and self-reproach. He sought consolation 
in his natural temperament, and in literary employment ; 
and to this we are indebted for those curious Sketches, 
and their abundant hilarity and facetiousness. 




I WAS born at Knapton, near Abbeyleix, in the Queen's County, 
at that time the seat of my father, but now of Sir George Pigott. 
I am the thii*d son and fourtli child of John Barrington, who 
had himself neither brother nor sister ; and at the period of my 
birth, my immediate connections were thus circumstanced. 

My family, by ancient patents, by marriages, and by inherit- 
ance from their ancestors, possessed very extensive landed estates 
in Queen's County, and had almost unlimited influence over its 
population, returning two members to the Irisli Parliament for 
Ballynakill, then a close borough. 

Cullenaghmore, the mansion where my ancestors liad resided 
from the reign of James the First, was then occupied by my 
grandfather, Colonel Jonah Barrington. He adopted me at my 
birth, brought me to his mansion, and I resided with him until 
his death. 

The Great House, as Cullenaglunore was called, exhibited an 
uncouth mass, at war with every rule of architecture. The ori- 
ginal castle had been demolished, and its materials converted to 
worse purposes. The front of the edifice which succeeded w^as 
particularly ungraceful : a Saracen's head, which was our crest, 
in coloured brick-work, was its only ornament ; some of the 
apartments were wainscotted with brown oak, others with red 
deal, and some not at all. The walls of the large hall were 
decked, as is customary, with fishing-rods, fire-arms, stags' horns, 
foxes' brushes, powder-flasks, shot-pouches, nets, and dog-collars ; 

VOL. I. B 

2 barrington's personal sketches 

here and there relieved by the extended skin of a kite or a king- 
fisher, nailed up in the vanity of their destroyers : that of a 
monstrous eagle, which impressed itself indelibly on my mind, 
surmounted the chimney-piece, accompanied by a card announc- 
ing the name of its slaughterer — "Alexander Barrington" — 
who, not being a rich relation, was subsequently entertained in 
the Great House two years, as a compliment for his present. A 
large parlour on each side of the hall, the only embellishments 
of which were some old portraits, and a multiplicity of hunting, 
shooting, and racing prints, with red tape nailed round them by 
way of frames, completed the reception-rooms. I was the only 
child in the house, and an inquisitive brat I was. 

I remained here till I was nine years old ; I had no play- 
fellows to take off my attention from whatever I observed or was 
taught ; and so strongly do my early impressions remain, that 
even at this long distance of time I fancy I can see the entire 
place as it stood then, with its old inhabitants vividly moving 
before me. 

The library was a gloomy closet, and rather scantily furnished 
with everything but dust and cobwebs. There were neither 
chairs nor tables. I recollect many of the principal books, be- 
cause I read such of them as I could comprehend or found 
amusing ; and looked over all the prints in them a hundred 
times. These prints, which I took delight in copying, made an 
indelible impression upon me ; and hence I feel confident of the 
utility of embellishments in books intended for the instruction 
or amusement of children. I had many of the books long after 
my grandfather's death, and have some of them still. From my 
earliest days I felt an insatiable passion for reading, and it has 
occupied the greater proportion of my later life. Gulliver's 
Travels, Eobinson Crusoe, Fairy Tales, and The History of the 
Bible, were my favourite authors. I believed every word except 
the fairies, and was not entirely sceptical as to those good 

I fancy there was then but little variety in the libraries of 
most country gentlemen ; and I mention, as a curiosity, the 



following volumes, several of whicli, as ali-eady stated, I retained 
many years after my grandfather and gi-andmother died : — The 
Journals of the House of Commons ; Clarendon's History ; The 
Spectator and Guardian ; Killing no ]Miu'der ; The Patriot King ; 
Bailey's Dictionary ; some of Swift's Works ; George Falkner's 
Newspapers ; Quiutus Curtius in English ; Bishop Burnet ; A 
Treatise on Tar- water, by some bishop ; * Robinson Crusoe ; 
Hudibras ; History of the Bible, in folio ; Nelson's Fasts and 
Feasts ; Fairy Tales ; The History of Peter Wilkins ; Glums and 
Gouries ; somebody's Justice of Peace ; and a multiplicity of 
Farriery, Sporting, and Gardening Books, etc., which I lost 
piecemeal, when making room for law-books — probably not half 
so good, but mucli more experimental. 

In those days very few mirrors adorned the houses of the 
country gentlemen. At my grandfather's a couple or three 
shaving-glasses for the gentlemen, and a couple of pretty large 
dressing-glasses, in black frames, for the ladies' use, composed 
nearly the entire stock of reflectors ; except tubs of spring 
water, which answered for the maid-servants. 

A large and productive, but not neatly dressed-up, garden 
adjoined the house. The whitewashed stone images ; the broad 
flights of steps up and down ; the terraces, with the round fish- 
pond — gave an impressive variety to this garden which I shall 
ever remember, as weU as many curious incidents wliich I wit- 
nessed therein. 

At the Great House all disputes amongst the tenants were 
in those days settled — quarrels reconciled — old debts arbitrated : 
a kind Irish landlord reigned despotic in the ardent affections of 
the tenantry, whose pride and pleasure it was to obey and 
support him. 

But there existed a happy reciprocity of interests. Tlie 
landlord of that period protected the tenant by his influence ; a 
wanton injury to the latter being considered as an insult to his 

* The celebrated Dr. George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, whose paradox of 
the non-existence of matter still keeps his memory alive. His "Alciphron, or 
the Minute Philosopher," and otlier works, are fast falling into forgetfulness. 


barrington's personal sketches 

lord. If one of the landlord's sons were grown up, no time was 
lost by him in demanding satisfaction from any gentleman for 
maltreating even his father's blacksmith. 

No gentleman of this degree ever distrained a tenant for 
rent :* indeed the parties appeared to be quite knit together. 
The greatest abhorrence, however, prevailed as to tithe-proctors, 
coupled with no great predilection for the clergy who employed 
them. These latter certainly were, in principle and practice, the 
real country tyrants of that day, and first caused the assembling 
of the White Boys.t 

I have heard it often said that, at the time I speak of, every 
estated gentleman in the Queen's County was honoured by the 
gout. I have since considered that its extraordinary prevalence 
was not difficult to be accounted for, by the disproportionate 
quantity of acid contained in their seductive beverage called 
rum-shrub — which was then universally drunk in quantities 
nearly incredible, generally from supper-time till morning, by all 
country gentleman, as they said, to keep down their claret. J 

My grandfather could not refrain, and therefore suffered 
much, — ^he piqued himself on procuring, through the interest of 
Batty Lodge, a Dublin fruiterer, the very first importation of 
oranges and lemons to the Irish capital every season. Horseloads 
of these, packed in boxes, were immediately sent to the Great 
House of Cullenaghmore ; and no sooner did they arrive, than 
the good news of fresh fruit was communicated to the Colonel's 
neighbouring friends, accompanied by the usual invitation. 

* Strange as this sounds now, it is almost an absolute fact, I recollect a 
wealthy middle-man, who was a large holder under the father of the present Lord 
Fermoy, threatening his tenant with distraint in Mr. Roache's presence. "Jack," 
said the latter, " if you set a bad example it will be worse for us all in the end ; 
and you and I are two for ever." 

\ The true origin of Whiteboyism was the general agricultural depression 
which prevailed eighty years ago. Tithes were a source of vexation and discon- 
tent. It does not appear that the Whiteboys had any special object but retalia- 
tion and revenge. 

X Happy times ! Claret is now kept out by the combined influence of thrift 
and temperance. Drinking habits have ceased to be the reproach of the Irish 
gentry— a fact worthy of the highest praise, and deserving commemoration. 



Night after night the revel afforded uninterrupted pleasure 
to the joyous gentry' : the festivity being subsequently renewed 
at some other mansion, till the Gout thought proper to put the 
whole party hors de comhat ; ha\ing the satisfaction of making 
cripples for a few months such as he did not kill. 

TTliilst the comivials bellowed ^\it\i the agonies of only toe 
or finger, it was a mere bagatelle ; but when Mr. Gout marched 
up the countr}', and invaded the head or the stomach, it was 
then iw joke ; and Drogheda usquebaugh,* the hottest-distilled 
liquor ever invented, was applied to for aid, and generally drove 
the tormentor in a few minutes to his former quarters. It was 
counted a specific ; and I allude to it the more particularly, as 
my poor grandfather was finished thereby. 

It was his custom to sit under a very large branching bay- 
tree, in his arm-chair, placed in a fine sunny aspect at the entrance 
of the garden. I kept his cloak for twelve years after his death : 
it was called a cartouche cloak, from a famous French robber who 
invented it for his gang for the purposes of evasion. It was 
made of very fine broadcloth, of a bright blue colour on one 
side, and a bright scarlet on the other ; so that by turning it the 
pursuer was easily bewildered. 

There my grandfather used to sit of a hot sunny day, receive 
any rents that came the way, and settle any accounts which his 
indifference permitted him to think of. 

At one time he suspected a young rogue of having slipped 
some money off his table when paying rent ; and therefore, when 
afterwards the tenants began to count out their money, he used 
to throw the focus of his large reading-glass upon their hands : — 
the smart, without any visible cause, astonished the ignorant 
creatures ! — they shook their hands, and thought it must be the 
de\il who was scorching them. The priest was let into the 
secret : he seriously told them all it wcis the devil, who had mis- 
taken them for the fellow that had stolen the money from the 
colonel ; but that if he (the priest) was properly consicUred, he 

* This liquor was in repute till about thirty years ago. Its high price put an 
end to its consumption, though not to its character. 


barrington's personal sketches 

would say as many masses as would bother fifty devils, were it 
necessary. The priest got his fee ; and another farthing never 
was taken from my grandfather.* 

He was rather a short man, with a large red nose — strong 
made ;t and wore an immense white wig, such as the portraits 
give to Dr. Johnson. He died at eighty-six years of age, of 
shrub-gout and usquebaugh, beloved and respected. I cried 
heartily for him ; and then became the favourite of my grand- 
mother, the best woman in the world, who went to reside in 
Dublin, and prepare me for college. 

Colonel John Barrington, my great-grandfather, for some 
time before his death, and after I was born, resided at Balljrroan. 
My grandfather having married Margaret, the daughter of Sir 
John Byrne, Bart., had taken to the estates and mansion, and 
gave an annuity to my great-grandfather, who died, one hundred 
and four years old, of a fever, having never shown any of the 
usual decrepitudes of age. He was reputed the most respectable 
man of my family, and sat for more than seventy years in par- 

Sir John Byrne, Bart., my maternal great-grandfather, lived 
at his old castle, Timogee, almost adjoining my grandfather 
Barrington : his domains, close to Stradbally, were nearly the 
most beautiful in the Queen's County. On his decease, his 
widow. Lady Dorothea Byrne, an Englishwoman, whose name 
had been Warren, I believe a grand-aunt to the late Lady 
Bulkley, resided there till her death ; having previously seen her 
son give one of the first and most deeply to be regretted instances 
of what is called forming English connections. Sir John B3rrne, 
my grand-uncle, having gone to England, married the heiress of 
the Leycester family : — the very name of Ireland was then 
odious to the English gentry ; and previous terms were made 
with him that his children should take the cognomen of Ley- 

* It is not certain that Sir Jonah has wilfully drawn the long hoio here, as he 
sometimes does obviously enough. He may have believed in the ridiculous story, 
for the march of intellect did not much interfere with the march of a droll exag- 
geration at the close of last century. 

t The man, it is to be presumed, not the nose. 



cester, and drop that of Bp'iie ; that he should quit Ireland, sell 
all his paternal estates there, and become an Englishman. He 
assented ; and the last Lord Shelbume purchased, for less than 
haK their value, all his fine estates, of which the Marquis of 
Lansdowne is now the proprietor. 

After the father's death the son became, of course, Sii* Peter 
Leycester, the predecessor of the present Sir John Fleming 
Leycester : thus the family of Byrne, descended from a long line 
of Irish princes and chieftains, condescended to become little 
amongst the rank of English commoners ; and so ended the con- 
nection between the B}Tnes and Bamngtons. 

My mother was the daughter of Patrick French of PetersweU, 
county of Gralway, wherein he had large estates : his wife, my 
grandmother, was one of the last remaining to the fii^t house of 
the ancient O'Briens. Her brother, my great-uncle, Donatus, also 
emigrated to England, and died fifteen or sixteen years since at 
his mansion, Blatherwick, in Cheshire, in a species of voluntary 
obscurity, inconsistent with his birth and large fortune. He left 
great hereditary estates in both countries to the enjojTnent of his 
mistress, excluding his family from all claims upon the manor or 
demesnes of their ancestors. The law enabled him to do what 
justice and pride should have interdicted. 

The anomaly of political principles among the Irish country 
gentlemen at that period was very extraordinaiy. They professed 
what they called unshaken loyalty* and yet they were unqualified 
partisans of Cromwell and William, two decided usiuyers — one of 
them having dethroned his father-in-law, and the other decapi- 
tated his king. 

The 5th of Xovember was celebrated in Dublin for the pre- 
servation of a Scottish king from gunpowder : then the 30th of 
January was much approved of by a great number of Irish, as 
the anniversary of making his son, Charles the First, shorter by 

* A great deal of this loyalty was founded in the traditions of confiscation, 
puritajiisni, and hate of popeiy. However tainted the origin, the principles were 
sound enough for all public or party purposes. The consistency of its supporters 
was of small importance to the House of Hanover. 


bakrington's personal sketches 

the head ; and then the very same Irish celebrated the restoration 
of Charles the Second, who was twice as bad as his father ; and 
whilst they rejoiced in putting a crown upon the head of the son 
of the king who could not quietly keep his own head on, they 
never failed to drink bumpers to the memory of Old Noll^ who 
had cut that king's head off. To conclude, in order to commemo- 
rate the whole story, and make their children remember it, they 
dressed up a fat calf's head on every anniversary of King Charles's 
throat being cut, and with a smoked ham placed by the side of it, all 
parties partook thereof most happily, washing down the emblem 
and its accompaniment with as much claret as they could hold. 

Having thus proved their loyalty to James the First, and 
their attachment to his son's murderer, and then their loyalty to 
one of his grandsons, to another of whom they were disloyal, they 
next proceeded to celebrate the birthday of William of Orange, 
a Dutchman, who turned their king, his father-in-law, out of the 
country, and who, in all probability, would have given the Irish 
another calf's head for their celebration, if his said father-in-law 
had not got out of the way with the utmost expedition, and gone 
to live upon charity in France, with the natural enemies of the 
British nation. 

One part of the Irish people then invented a toast, called 
" The glorious, pious, and immortal memory of William, the 
Dutchman ;" whilst another raised a counter-toast, called " The 
memory of the chestnut-horse," that broke the neck of the same 
King William.t But in my mind (if I am to judge of past times 

* Oliver has few, if any, admirers now in Ireland. He had the misfortune of 
having been neither democrat, nor king, nor reformer. He propounded no scheme 
of government, nor exhibited any principles of policy capable of assuring or deceiv- 
ing any individual or party. He could face danger, but could not support eminence, 
His abilities, like those of almost all partisan soldiers, commanded success in 
certain directions, but respect in none. In his whole character there is little 
admirable, except his affection for his family, his resoluteness, and early good 
fortune. In Ireland his memory is abhorred by the great majority. 

t King William's neck was not broken ; but it was said that he got a fall from a 
chestnut horse, which hurt him inwardly, and hastened his dissolution. — {Author's 

William's character has been greatly mistaken, especially by his most zealous 



by the corporation of Dublin) it was only to coin an excuse for 
getting loyally di*unk as often as possible that they were so 
enthusiastically fond of making sentiments, as they called them. 

As to the politics of my family, we had, no doubt, some very 
substantial reasons for bemg both Cromwellians and Williamites ; 
the one confirmed our grants, and the other preserved them for 
us : my family, indeed, had certainly not only those, but other 
very special reasons to be pleased with King William. Though 
he gave them nothing, what they had might have been lost but 
for his usurpation. 

During the short reign of James the Second in Ireland, those 
who were not for him were considered to be against him, and of 
course were subjected to the severities and confiscations usual in 
all ci\dl wars. Amongst the rest, my great-gi^andfather. Colonel 
John Barrington, being a Protestant, and having no predilection 
for King James, was ousted from his mansion and estates at 
Cullenaglimore by one O'Fagan, a Jacobite wig-maker and violent 
partisan, from BalljTiakill. He was, notwithstanding, rather 
respectfully treated, and was allowed forty pounds a-year so long 
as he behaved himseK. 

However, he only behaved well for a couple of months ; at 
the end of which time, with a party of liis faitliful tenants, he 
surpiised the wig-maker, cast him out of possession in his turn, 
and reinstated himself in his mansion and property. 

The wig-maker, having escaped to Dublin, laid his complaint 
before the authorities ; and a party of soldiers were ordered to make 
short work of it, if the colonel did not submit on the first summons. 

The party demanded entrance, but were refused ; and a little 
firing from the windows of the mansion took place. Not being, 
however, tenable, it was successfully stormed : the old game- 
admirers. He was an insTilting enemy of the English Chm-ch, and there is strong 
evidence of his having been, in principle, a fi-iend of toleration and civil and reli- 
gious liberty. He violated the treaty of Limerick reluctantly. He bestowed his 
uncle's property in Ireland on the infamous Countess of Orkney ; who, however, 
was compelled by parliament to disgorge the gift in favour of the Irish Established 
Church. See Miss Strickland's Queens of England, and Townsend Young's History 
of Ireland^ reign of "William III. 


bakkington's personal sketches 

keeper, John N'eville, killed, and my great-grandfather taken 
prisoner, conveyed to the drum-head at Eaheenduff, tried as a 
rebel by a certain Cornet M'Mahon, and in due form ordered to 
be hanged in an hour. 

At the appointed time, execution was punctually proceeded on ; 
and so far as tying up the colonel to the cross-bar of his own 
gate, the sentence was actually put in force. But at the moment 
the first haul was given to elevate him, Ned Doran, a tenant of 
the estate, who was a trooper in King James's army, rode up 
to the gate — ^himself and horse in a state of complete exhaustion. 
He saw with horror his landlord strung up, and exclaimed, — 

" Holloa ! holloa ! blood and ouns, boys ! cut down the 
colonel ! cut down the colonel ! or yell be all hanged yeerselves, 
ye villains of the world, ye ! I am straight from the Boyne 
Water, through thick and thin ; ough, by the hokys ! we're all 
cut up and kilt. Jemmy's scampered, bad luck to him, without 
a ' good bye to yees ! ' " 

My grandfather's hangmen lost no time in getting off, leaving 
the colonel slung fast by the neck to the gate-posts. But Doran 
soon cut him down, and fell on his knees to beg pardon of liis land- 
lord, the holy Virgin, and King William from the Boyne Water. 

Doran was ever after a faithful adherent. He was the grand- 
father of Lieutenant- colonel Doran, of the Irish brigade, after- 
wards, if I recollect rightly, of the 47th regiment — the officer 
who cut a German colonel's head clean off in the mess-room at 
Lisbon, after dinner, with one slice of his sabre. He dined with 
me repeatedly at Paris about six years since, and was the most 
disfigured warrior that could possibly be imagined. When he 
left CuUenagh for the Continent, in 1783, he was as fine a clever- 
looking young farmer as could be seen ; but he had been blown 
up once or twice in storming batteries, which, with a few gashes 
across his features, and the obvious aid of numerous pipes of 
wine, or something not weaker, had so spoiled his beauty, that 
he had become absolutely frightful. 

This occurrence of my great-grandfather fixed the political 
creed of my family. On the 1st of July the orange lily was 



sure to garnish every window in the mansion : the hereditary 
petereroes scarcely ceased cracking all the evening, to glorify 
the victory of the Boyne Water, till one of them burst, and killed 
the gardener's wife, who was tying an orange ribbon round the 
mouth of it, which she had stopped for fear of accidents* 

The tenantry, though to a man Papists, and at that time 
nearly in a state of slavery, joined heart and hand in these re- 
joicings, and forgot the victory of their enemy while com- 
memoratiDg the rescue of their landlord. A hundred times 
have I heard the story repeated by the " Cotchers " (cottiers), as 
they sat crouching on their hams, like Indians, around the big 
turf fire. Their only lament was for the death of old John 
Neville, the gamekeeper. His name I should well remember ; 
for it was his grandson's wife, Debby Clarke, who nursed me. 

Tliis class of stories and incidents was well calculated to 
make indelible impressions on the mind of a child. The old 
people of Ireland, like the Asiatics, took the greatest delight in 
repeating their legendaiy tales to the children. By constant re- 
petition then- old stories became hereditary, and I dare say 
neither gained nor lost a sentence in the recital for a couple of 
hundi^ed years. The massacres of Queen Elizabeth were quite 
familiar to them ; and by an ancient custom of everybody 
throwing a stone on the spot where any celebrated murder had 
been committed, upon a certain day every year, it is wonderful 
what mounds were raised in numerous places, which no person, 
but such as were familiar with the customs of the poor creatures, 
would ever be able to account for.-j- 

* It is evident that a useful operation may be performed here ; but if such 
little extravagancies were amputated, the features of the text would be too much 
interfered with. The symmetry would be improved, but the quaintness, the 
Irish relish, somewhat impaired. 

t The custom of adding a stone to the heap indicating the scene of a murder 
has long since disappeared. It was specially exercised on tlie anniversary of the 
deed, but the passers-by may have increased the heap at any time. There is no 
reason to think that those little accumulations were the progeny of the great 
Pagan cairns ; but were simple memorials of a sanguinary event, whose enormity 
deserved to be perpetuated ; or, perhaps, intended as a sort of cenotaph, for I have 
.seen some surmounted by a small wooden cross. 


barrington's personal sketches 


A GREAT-AUNT of mine, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, whose husband, 
Stephen, possessed the castle of Moret, near Bally-Brittis and 
not very far fram Cullenagh, did not fare quite so well as my 
great-grandfather before mentioned. 

She and her husband held their castle firmly during the 
troubles. They had forty good warders ; their local enemies 
had no cannon, and but few muskets. The warders, protected 
by the battlements, pelted their adversaries with large stones 
when they ventured to approach the walls ; and in front of each 
of that description of castles there was a hole right over the 
entrance, wherefrom every species of defensive material could 
be dropped upon assailants. 

About the year 1690, when Ireland was in a state of great 
disorder, and no laws were really regarded, numerous factious 
bodies were formed in every part of the country, to claim old 
rights and seize upon estates under legal pretences. 

My uncle and aunt, or rather my aunt and uncle, for she 
was said to be far the most effective of the two, at one time 
suffered the enemy (who were of the O'Cahils, and claimed my 
uncle's property, out of which they said Queen Elizabeth had 
turned them) to approach the gate in the night time. As there 
were neither outworks nor wet fosse, the assailants brought fire 
to consume the gate. My aunt, aware of their designs, drew her 
warders to one spot, heaps of great stones being ready to their 
hands at the top of the castle. 

When the O'Cahils had got close to the gate, and were 
directly under the loop-hole, on a sudden streams of boiling 
water, heated in the castle coppers, came showering down upon 
their heads. This extinguished the fire and cruelly scalded 
many of the besiegers. 



The multitude fled ; but whilst one part of the warders 
hurled volleys of weighty stones heyond the fugitives, to deter 
them from retreating, another party dropped stones more 
ponderous still on the heads of those who crouched close under 
the castle-walls. The lady of the castle meantime, ^\dth all her 
maids, assisted the chief body of the warders in pelting the 
Jacobites with destructive missiles till all seemed pretty still ; 
but wherever a groan was heard a volley quickly ended the 
troubles of the sufferer. 

The old traditionists often told me that at daybreak there 
were lying above one himdred of the assailants under the castle- 
walls — some scalded, some battered to pieces, and many badly 
lamed. My good aunt kindly ordered them all to be put out of 
misery as fast as ropes and a long gallows could perform that 
piece of humanity. 

After the victory the warders had a feast on the castle-top, 
whereat each of them recounted his own feats. Squire Fitz- 
gerald, a quiet easy man, who hated fighting, and who had told 
my aunt at the beginning that they would surely kill him, having 
seated himself all night under one of the parapets, was quite de- 
lighted when the fray was over. He had walked into his garden 
outside the walls to take some tranquil air, w^hen an ambuscade 
of the truculent enemy surrounded and earned him off. In vain 
his warders sallied — the squii-e was gone past all redemption I 

It was supposed he had paid his debts to Nature — if any 
he owed* — when, next day, a large body of the O'Cahil faction 
appeared near the castle. Their force was too great to be 
attacked by the warders, who durst not sally ; and the former 
assault had been too calamitous to the O'Cahils to warrant 
them in attempting another. Both were therefore standing at 
bay, when, to the great joy of the garrison, Squire Fitzgerald 
was produced, and one of the assailants, with a white cloth on a 
pike, advanced to parley. 

The lady attended his proposals, w^hich were very laconic. 
" I'm a truce, lady ! — Look here (showing the terrified squire) 

* If this be a joke, it is a dead dull one. 


barrington's personal sketches 

we have your husband in hoult — yee's have yeer castle sure 
enough. !N"ow we'll change, if you please ; we'll render the squire 
and you'll render the keep ; and if yee's won't do that same, the 
squire will be throttled before your two eyes in half-an-hour." 

"Flag of truce!" said the heroine, with due dignity and 
without hesitation ; " mark the words of Elizabeth Fitzgerald of 
Moret Castle : they may serve for your own wife upon some 
future occasion. Flag of truce ! I wonH render my keep, and 
I'll tell you why — Elizabeth Fitzgerald may get another 
husband, but Elizabeth Fitzgerald may never get another 
castle ; so I'll keep what I have, and if you can't get off faster 
than your legs can readily carry you, my warders will try which 
is hardest, your skull or a stonebullet." 

^he O'Cahils kept their word, and old Squire Stephen Fitz- 
gerald, in a short time, was seen dangling and performing various 
evolutions in the air, to the great amusement of the Jacobites, 
the mortification of the warders, and chagrin, not, however, 
without a mixture of consolation, of my great-aunt Elizabeth. 

This magnanimous lady, after Squire Stephen had been cut 
down, waked, and deposited in a neighbouring garden, conceived 
that she might enjoy her castle with tranquillity : but, to guard 
against mischances, she replenished her lapidary ; had a wide 
trench dug before the castle-gate ; and pit-falls, covered with 
green sods, having sharp stakes driven within, scattered round 
it on every side — the passage through them being only known 
to the faithful warders. She contrived, besides, a species of de- 
fence that I have not seen mentioned in the Peccata Hibernia,* 
or any of the murderous annals of Ireland. It consisted of a 
heavy beam of wood, well loaded with iron at the bottom, and 
suspended by a pulley and cord at the top of the castle. This 
could be let down through the projecting hole over the entrance, 
whereby the assailants could be pounded, as with a pestle and 
mortar, without the power of resistance on their part. 

The castle-vaults were well victualled ; and as the enemy 

* Is this a humorous blunder or a typographical error, for the Pacata 
Hibernia, Ireland Appeased, etc., by Sir George Carew. 



had none of those despotic engines called cannon, my aunt's 
garrison was in tolerable security. Indeed, fortunately for 
Elizabeth, there was not a single piece of ordnance in the 
country, except the few mounted in the Fort of Dunnally ; and, 
moreover, there was not sufficient gunpowder among the people 
to hold an hour's hard fighting. 

With such defences, Elizabeth imagined herself well armed 
against all marauders, and quietly awaited a change of times 
and a period of general security. 

Close to the castle there was, and I believe still remains, a 
dribbling stream of water, in which there is a large stone with a 
deep indentui'e on the top. It was always full of limpid water, 
and called St. Bridget's Well, — that holy woman having been 
accustomed daily to kneel in prayer on one knee, till she wore a 
hole in the granite. 

To this well old Jug Ogie, the oldest piece of furniture in 
Moret Castle, who was an hereditary cook, daily went for the pur- 
pose of drawing the sacred cr^^stal to boil her mistress's dinner. 

On one of these sallies of old Jug, some fellows (who, as it 
aftervvards appeared, had with a very deep design lain in ambush) 
seized and were carr}dng her off, when they were perceived by 
one of the watchmen from the tower, who instantly gave an 
alarm, and some warders sallied after them. Jug was rescued, 
and the enemy fled through the swamps ; but not before one of 
them had his head divided into two equal parts by the hatchet 
of Keeran Karry, who was always at the head of the warders, 
and the life and soul of the whole garrison. 

The dead man turned out to be a son of Andrew M'Mahon, 
a faction-man of Eeuben ; but nobody could then guess the 
motive for endeavouring to cany off old Jug. However, that 
matter soon became developed. 

Elizabeth was accounted to be very rich, and had a large de- 
mesne into the bargain. Having acquired a taste for the sweets 
of independence, she refused many matrimonial offers ; but the 
country squires determined she sJwulcl marry one of them, since 
marry willingly she would not. Almost every one of them had 


barrington's personal sketches 

previously put the question to her by flag of truce, as they all 
stood in too much awe of the lady to do it personally : and at 
length, teased by their importunities, she gave notice of her in- 
tention to hang the next flag of truce who brought proposals. 

Upon this information, they finally agreed to decide by lot 
who should be the hero to surprise and carry off Elizabeth, 
which was considered a matter of danger on account of the 
warders, who would receive no other commandment. 

Elizabeth got wind of their design and place of meeting, 
which was to be in the old castle of Eeuben, near Athy. 
Eleven or twelve of the squires privately attended at the 
appointed hour, and it was determined that whoever should be 
the lucky winner was to receive the aid and assistance of the 
others in bearing away the prize, and gaining her hand. To this 
effect, a league offensive and defensive was entered into between 
them — one part of which went to destroy Elizabeth's warders 
root and branch ; and, to forward their object, it was desirable, if 
possible, to procure some inmate of the castle who, by fair or 
foul means, would inform them of the best mode of entry : this 
caused the attempt to carry off old Jug Ogie. 

However, they were not long in want of a spy : for Elizabeth, 
hearing of their plan from the gassoon* of Eeuben (a nephew of 
Jug's), determined to take advantage of it. "My Lady," said 
Jug Ogie, " pretend to turn me adrift in a dark night, and give 
out that my gassoon here was found robbing you — they'll soon 
get wind of it, and I'll be the very person the squires want — and 
then you'll hear all." 

The matter was agreed on, and old Jug Ogie and the gassoon 
were turned out, as thieves, to the great surprise of the warders 
and the country. But Jug was found and hired, as she expected ; 
and soon comfortably seated in the kitchen at Castle Eeuben, 
with the gassoon, whom she took in as kitchen-boy. She gave 
her tongue its full fling, — told a hundred stories about her "devil 
of a mistress," — and undertook to inform the squires of the best 
way to get to her apartment. 

* Or gorsoon, a grown boy or lad ; the same as garqon in French. 



Elizabeth was now sure to learn everything so soon as deter- 
mined on. The faction had arranged all matters for the capture : — 
the night of its execution approached : — the old cook prepared a 
good supper for the quality — the squires arrived, and the gassoon 
had to run only three miles to give the lady the intelligence. 
Twelve cavaliers attended, each accompanied by one of the ablest 
of his faction, for they were all afraid of each other whenever 
the wine should rise upwards. 

The lots, being formed of straws of different lengths, were 
held by the host, who was disinterested, and the person of Eliza- 
beth, her fortune, and Moret Castle, fell to the lot of Cromarty 
O'Moore, one of the Cremorgan squu-es. The rest all swore to 
assist him till death ; and one in the morning was the time ap- 
pointed for the surprise of Elizabeth and her castle. Meantime 
they sat down to enjoy the good supper prepared by old Jug 

Castle Reuben had been one of the strongest places in the 
county, situated in the midst of a swamp, which rendered it nearly 
inaccessible. It had belonged to a natural son of one of the 
Geraldines, who had his throat cut by a gamekeeper of his own. 
Nobody choosing to interfere with the sportsman, he remained 
peaceably in possession of the castle, and now accommodated the 
squires with it for a rendezvous. 

The heroic dame, on her part, was not inactive ; she informed 
her warders of the scheme to force a new master on her and them ; 
and many a round oath she swore that she would preserve her 
castle and her chastity to the last extremity. 

The warders took fire at the attempt of the squires to subju- 
gate their lady and themselves to an irresponsible tyranny and 
odious bondage. 

"Arrah ! lady," said Keeran Karry, how many rogues 'ill 
there be at Eeuben, as you larn, to-night ? — arrah ! " 

"I hear only four-and-twenty," said Elizabeth, "besides tlie 

All then began to speak together, and join most heartily in 
discussing the meditated attack. 
VOL. I. c 


baerington's personal sketches 

" Arrali 1 run for tlie priest," says Ned Eegan ; "may be you'd 
like a touch of his reverence's office first, for fear there might be 
any sin in it." 

" I tliought you'd like him with your brandy, warders," said 
Elizabeth with dignity ; " I have him below : he's praying a little, 
and will be up directly. The whole plan is ready for you, and 
Jug Ogie has the signal. Here, Keeran," giving him a gxeen 
ribbon with a daub of old Squire Fitzgerald, who was hanged, 
dangling to the ribbon, " if you and the warders do not bring me 
their captain's ear, you have neither the courage of a weasel, nor 
—nor" (striking her breast hard with her able hand) " even the 
revenge of a woman in you." 

" Arrah, be asy, my lady ! " said Keeran, " be asy ! by my sowl, 
we'll bring you four-and-twenty pair, if your ladyship have any 
longing for the ears of such villains." 

" Now, warders," said Elizabeth, who was too cautious to leave 
her castle totally unguarded, " as we are going to be just, let us 
be also generous ; there's only twenty-four of them, besides the 
M'Mahons, will be there. Now it would be an eternal disgrace 
to INIoret, if we went to overpower them by numbers : twenty- 
four chosen warders, Eather Murphy and the corporal, the gassoon 
and the piper, are all that shall leave the castle to-night ; and if 
Castle Eeuben is let to stand till daybreak to-morrow, I hope none 
of you will come back to me again." 

The priest now made his appearance, and all was in a bustle. 
The brandy circulated merrily, and each warder had in his own 
mind made mince-meat of three or four of the Reuben faction, 
whose ears they fancied already in their pockets. Every man 
took his skeen in his belt — had a thick club, with a strong spike 
at the end of it, slung with a stout leather thong to his wiist ; 
and under his coat, a sharp, broad hatchet with a black blade and 
a crooked handle. And thus, in silence, the twenty-five Moret 
warders set out with their priest, the piper, and the gassoon with 
a copper pot slung over his shoulders, and a piece of a poker in 
his hand, on their expedition to the castle of Eeuben. 

Before twelve o'clock, the warders, the priest, Keeran Karry, 



and the castle piper, had arrived in the utmost silence and secrecy. 
In that sort of large inhabited castle, the principal entrance was 
through the farm-yard, which was, indeed, generally the only 
assailable quarter. In the present instance, the gate was half 
open, and the house-lights appeared to have been collected in the 
rear, as was judged from their reflection in the water of the Bar- 
row, which ran close under the windows. A noise was heard, 
but not of drunkenness ; — it was a sound as of preparation for 
battle. The warders foresaw it would not be so easy a business 
as they had contemplated, and regretted that they liad not 
brought a more numerous force. 

It was concerted that ten men should creep upon their hands 
and feet to the front entrance, and await there until, by some 
accident, it might be sufficiently open for the ferocious rush which 
was to surprise their opponents. 

But Keeran, always discreet, had some forethought that more 
than usual caution would be requisite. He had counted on 
dangers which the others had never dreamt of, and his prudence, 
in aU probability, saved the lives of many of the warders. He 
preceded his men, crawling nearly on his breast ; he had sus- 
pected that a dog overheard them, and a bark soon confirmed the 
truth of that suspicion. Keeran, however, was prepared for this 
circumstance ; he had filled his pockets with pieces of bacon im- 
pregnated with nux vomica. The savoury morsels took immediate 
effect on two great mastiffs and a wolf-dog who roamed about the 
yard at nights. 

Keeran advanced crawling to the door ; he found it fast, but 
ha\ listened, he soon had reason to conjecture that the in- 
mates were too well armed and numerous to make the result of 
the battle at all certain. He crept back to the hedge, and hav- 
ing informed the warders of the situation in which they were 
placed, they one and all swore that they would enter or die. The 
priest had lain down under a hay-stack in the outer hay-yard, 
and the piper had retired nobody knew where. 

Keeran now desired the warders to handle their hatchets, and 
be prepared for an attack so soon as they should see the front 


bakrington's personal sketches 

door open and hear tliree strokes on the copper kettle. The 
gassoon had left that machine on a spot which he had described 
near the gate, and Keeran requested that, in case they should see 
lire, they should not mind it till the kettle sounded. He then 
crawled away, and they saw no more of him. 

The moments were precious. At one o'clock a body armed 
possibly better than themselves, and probably more numerous, 
would surely issue from the castle on their road to Moret, well 
prepared for combat. The result in such a case might be very 
precarious. The warders by no means felt pleased with their 
situation ; and the absence of their leader, priest, and piper, gave 
no additional sensations of conquest or security. In this state of 
things near half-an-hour had elapsed, when of a sudden they 
perceived, on the side of the hay-yard towards their own position, 
a small blaze of fire issue from a corn-stack — in a moment an- 
other, and another ! The conflagration was impetuous ; it ap- 
peared to be devouring everything, but as yet was not perceived 
by the inmates at the rear of the house. At length volumes of 
flame illuminated by reflection the waters of the river under the 
back windows. The warders, now expecting the sally, grasped 
tightly their hatchets, yet moved not ; but breathless, with a 
ferocious anxiety, awaited the event in almost maddening sus- 
pense. A loud noise now issued from the interior of the house ; 
the fire was perceived by the garrison — still it might be accidental 
— the front door was thrown open, and near thirty of the inmates 
poured out, some fully, others not fully armed. 

At that moment the copper kettle was beaten rapidly and 
with force : a responsive sound issued from the house ; the 
garrison hesitated, but hesitation was quickly banished. On the 
first blow of the kettle, the warders, in a compact body, with 
hideous yells, rushed on the astonished garrison, as yet ignorant 
as to who their enemies could be. Every hatchet found its vic- 
tim ; — limbs, features, hands, were chopped off without mercy — 
death or dismemberment followed nearly every blow of that 
brutal weapon, whilst the broad sharp skeens soon searched the 
bodies of the wounded. Almost half the garrison was annihilated 



before the foe was known. The survdvoi-s, however, soon learned 
the cause of their comrades' slaughter. The war-cry of "A 
Gerald ! — a Gerald I — a Gerald !" — which now accompanied every 
crash of the murderous hatchet, or eveiy plunge of the broad- 
bladed skeen, informed them with whom they were fighting. 
Fifteen or sixteen of the garrison still remained unwounded, but 
their case was desperate. Keeran Karry now headed his warders. 
The gassoon rapidly and fiercely struck the copper, in unison 
^vith. the sound of the fatal weapons, wliilst the old and decrepid 
Jug Ogie, within the castle, repeated the same sound, thereby 
leading the garrison to believe that to retreat inside the walls 
would only be to encounter a fresh enemy. 

The affair, however, was far from being finished : the sur- 
^'ivors rapidly retired, and got in a body to the position first 
occupied by Keeran's warders. They were desperate. The 
fiames still raged with irresistible fury in the hay-yard. It was 
Keeran who had set fire to the com and hay, which materials 
produced an almost supernatural conflagration. The remains of 
the garrison were at once fortified, and concealed from view, by 
a high hoUy hedge, and awaited their turn to become assailants : 
— it soon arrived. From the midst of the burning ricks in the 
hay-yard a shrill and piercing cry was heard to issue, of " Ough, 
murther — murther ! Holy Virgin, save me ! if there is any marcy, 
save me I" The voice was at once recognised by the warriors of 
Moret as that of their priest, who had fallen asleep under a hay- 
stack, and never awakened till the flames had seized upon his 
cloak. He knew not how to escape, being met, wherever he ran, 
by crackling masses. He roared to the full extent of his voice ; 
and gave himseK up for lost. Fortunately, as the materials of 
his habit were little combustible, he was not dangerously biu-ned, 
although he suffered somewhat in his legs. No sooner did they 
perceive his situation, than the warders, each man forgetting 
himself, rushed to save his reverence, whose services might be so 
necessary to themselves. Tliey now imagined that the fight was 
ended, and prepared to enjoy themselves by the plunder of Castle 


barrington's personal sketches 

This was the moment for the defeated garrison : — with a loud 
yell of " A Moore ! a Moore ! a Moore !" they fell in their turn 
upon the entangled warders in the hay-yard, five of whom had 
been wounded and one killed in the first fray, whilst many had 
subsequently thrown down their hatchets to receive their pastor, 
and had only their spikes and skeens wherewith to defend them- 
selves. The battle now became more serious, because more 
doubtful, than at its commencement. Several of the warders 
were wounded, and four more lay dead at the entrance to the 
hay-yard ; their spirit was dashed, and their adversaries laid on 
with the fury of desperation. Keeran Karry had received two 
sword-thrusts through his shoulder and could fight no more ; 
but he could do better — he could command. He called to the 
warders to retreat and take possession of the castle, which was 
now untenanted. This step saved them ; they retired thither 
with all possible rapidity, pursued by the former garrison, who, 
however, were not able to enter with them. Keeran directed the 
thick planks and flagstones to be torn up, thereby leaving the 
hall open to the cellar beneath, as had been done at Moret. The 
enemy were at bay at the door, and could not advance. On 
the other hand, many of the warders having, as just stated, 
flung away their hatchets, were ill armed. The moment was 
critical : Keeran, however, was never at a loss for some expe- 
dient ; he counted his men ; five had been killed in the hay- 
yard, and one just outside the walls ; several others were 
wounded, amongst whom was the piper, who had been asleep. 
Keeran told the warders that he feared the sun might rise on 
their destruction, if something were not immediately done. 

Are there," said he, five among ye, who are willing to swap 
your lives for the victory?" Every man cried out for himself; 
and 1 1 — I ! — I ! — echoed through the hall. " Well ! " said Keeran, 
who without delay directed five men, and the gassoon with the 
copper kettle, to steal out at the back of the castle, creep through 
the hedges, and get round directly into the rear of the foe before 
they attacked ; having succeeded in which, they were imme- 
diately to advance beating the vessel strongly. " They will sup- 



pose," said tlie warlike Keeran, " that it is a reinforcement, and 
we shall then return the sound from within. If they believe it 
to be a reinforcement, they will submit to mercy : if not, we'll 
attack them front and rear — and as our numbers are pretty 
equal, very few of us on either side will tell the story to our 
childer ! but we'll have as good a chance as them 'S'illains." 

This scheme was carried into immediate execution, and com- 
pletely succeeded- The enemy, who were now grouped outside 
the door, hearing the kettle in the rear, supposed that they 
should be at once attacked by sally and from behind. Thinking 
that they had now only to choose between death and submission, 
the mercy, which was ofiered, they accepted ; — and peep o' day 
being arrived, the vanquished agreed to throw their arms into 
the well, — to swear before the priest that they never would dis- 
turb, or aid in disturbing. Lady Elizabeth or the castle of Moret, 
— that no man on either side should be called upoD by law for 
his fighting that night ; and finally, that the person who had 
succeeded in drawing the lot for Elizabeth, should deliver up 
the lock of his hair that grew next his ear to testify his submis- 
sion : this latter clause, however, was stipidated needlessly, as 
Cromarty 0'Mooi*e was discovered in the farm-yard, with nearly 
all his face cut off, and several skeen-wounds in his arms and 
body. Early in the morning the dead were buried without 
noise or disturbance, and both parties breakfasted together in 
perfect cordiality and good-humour : those who fell were mostly 
tenants of the squires. The yard was cleared of blood and 
havoc ; the warders and garrison parted lq perfect friendship ; 
and the former returned to the castle, bringing back Jug Ogie to 
her impatient ndstress. Of the warders, tliirteen returned safe ; 
six remained behind badly wounded, and six were dead. Kee- 
ran's woimds were severe, but they soon healed ; and Elizabeth 
afterwards resided at Moret to a very late period in the reign of 
George the Eirst. Eeuben soon changed its occupant, ^I'Mahon, 
who was hanged for the murder of his master ; and that part of 
the country has siace become one of the most ci^'ilised of the 
wliole province. 


barkington's personal sketches 

I have given the foregoing little history in full, inasmuch as 
it is but little known, is strictly matter of fact, and exhibits a 
curious picture of the state of Irish society and manners in or 
about the year 1690.* 

* The last paragraphs of this contest are one of the greatest curiosities of litera- 
ture, ancient or modern ; but on that very account totally unworthy of being re- 
printed. Of the possibility of the event at the period, there needs be no dispute. 
The country was totally unsettled; and, to decide possession, appeals to force 
were not uncommon. 




The numerous and remarkable instances which came within my 
own observation, of mutual attachment between the Irish 
peasantry and theu' landlords in former times, would fill volumes. 
A few will suffice, in addition to what has already been stated, 
to show the nature of that reciprocal good-will which, on many 
occasions, was singularly useful to both ; and in selecting these 
instances from such as occurred in my own family, I neither mean 
to play the vain egotist, nor to determine generals by particulars ; 
since good landlords and attached peasantry were then spread 
over the entire face of Ireland, and bore a great proportion to the 
whole country. 

A very extensive field of corn of my father's had once become 
too ripe, inasmuch as all the reapers in the countiy were em- 
ployed in getting in their own scanty crops. Some of the ser- 
vants had heard my father regret that he could not by possibility 
get in his reapers without taking them from these little crops, 
and that he woidd sooner lose his own. 

This field was within full view of our wiadows. My father 
had given up the idea of being able to cut his corn in time. One 
morning when he rose he looked — rubbed his eyes — called the 
servants, and asked them if they saw anything odd in the field. 
They certainly did. On our family retiring to rest the night 
before, the whole body of the peasantry of the country, after their 
hard labour durmg the day, had come upon the great field, and 
had reaped and stacked it before dawn ! Similar instances of 
affection repeatedly took place. No tenant on any of the estates 
of my family was ever distrained, or even pressed, for rent. The 
only individuals who annoyed them were the parsons, by their 
proctors, and the tax-gatherers for hearth-money ; and though 


barrington's personal sketches 

hard cash was scant with both landlord and tenant, and no small 
bank-notes had got into circulation, provisions were plentiful, 
and but little inconvenience was experienced by the peasantry 
from want of a circulating medium. There was constant resi- 
dence and work, no banks and no machinery ; and though the 
people might not be quite so refined, most undoubtedly they 
were vastly happier.* 

But a much more characteristic proof than the foregoing of 
the extraordinary devotion of the lower to the higher orders in 
Ireland, in former times, occurred in my family, and is on 

My grandfather, Mr. French of County Galway, was a remark- 
ably small, nice little man, but of an extremely irritable temper- 
ament, an excellent swordsman, and, like all Galway gentlemen, 
proud to excess. 

Some relics of feudal arrogance frequently set the neighbours 
and their adherents together by the ears. My grandfather had 
conceived a contempt for, and antipathy to, a sturdy half- 
mounted gentleman, one Mr. Dennis Bodkin, who entertained an 
equal aversion to the arrogance of my grandfather, and took every 
possible opportunity of irritating and opposing him. 

My grandmother, an O'Brien, was high and proud, steady 
and sensible, but disposed to be rather violent at times in her 
contempts and animosities, and entirely agreed with her husband 
in his detestation of Mr. Dennis Bodkin. 

* These observations may be disputed. Barrington, however, may be true in tlie 
main. The amount of money deposited to the credit of a few, even the general 
appearance of better clothing, etc. , cannot be taken as decisive of increased private 
happiness or public prosperity. If steam and notes had had never an existence, 
happiness would not be one whit the less within the attainment of industry and 
simpler agencies. That part of bosom happiness which depends on morality has 
certainly been diminished by machinery. Banks and machines contribute to the 
augmentation of national wealth ; but we know very well that the greatest amount 
of pauperism has for a long period co-existed with enormous riches. The whole 
question must be studied in two distinct branches — the tendency of machines to 
increase employment on the one hand, and to diminish it on the other hand. 
Two things are certain : we cannot stay mechanical inventions ; and the conquest 
of civilisation will be achieved by them. 



Ou some occasion or other Mr. Dennis had chagrined the 
squire and his lady most outrageously. A large company dined 
at my grandfather's, and my gTandmother concluded her abuse 
of Dennis \nth. an energetic expression that could not have been 
literally meant, in these words, — " I wish the fellow's ears were 
cut off ! that might quiet him." 

This passed over as usual : the subject was changed, and all 
went on comfortably till supper ; at which time, when everybody 
was in fidl glee, the old butler, Ned Eegan, who had drank 
enough, came in — joy was in his eye — and whispering something 
to his mistress wliich she did not comprehend, he put a large 
snuff-box into her hand. Fancying it was some whim of her old 
domestic, she opened the box and shook out its contents ; when, 
lo ! a considerable portion of a pair of bloody ears dropped on the 
table ! Nothing could surpass tlie horror and surprise of the 
company. Old Ned exclaimed, — " Sure, my lady, you wished 
that Dennis Bodkin's ears were cut off ; so I told old Gahagan 
(the gamekeeper), and he took a few boys with him, and brought 
back Dennis Bodkin's ears — and there they are ; and I hope you 
are plazed, my lady !" 

The scene may be imagined ; — but its results had like to have 
been of a more serious nature. The sportsman and the boys 
were ordered to get off as fast as they could ; but my grandfather 
and gi'andmother were held to heavy bail, and were tried at the 
ensuing assizes at Galway. The evidence of the entire company, 
however, united in proving that my grandmother never had an 
idea of any such order, and that it was a mistake on the part of 
the servants. They were, of course, acquitted. The sportsman 
never reappeared in the county till after the death of Demiis 
Bodkin, which took place three years subsequently. 

This anecdote may give the reader an idea of the devotion of 
servants in those days to their masters. The order of things is 
now reversed, and the change of times cannot be better proved 
than by the propensity servants now have to rob (and, if conve- 
nient, murder*) the families from whom they derive their daily 

* Here Barrington seems as thoughtless and extravagant as his grandmother. 


barrington's personal sketches 

bread. Where the remote error lies, I know not, but certainly 
the ancient fidelity of domestics seems to be totally out of fashion 
with those gentry at present. 

A more recent instance of the devotion of the country people 
to old settlers and families occurred to myself, which, as I am 
upon the subject, I will now mention. I stood a contested elec- 
tion, in the year 1790, for the borough of Ballynakill, for which 
my ancestors had returned two members to Parliament during 
nearly 200 years. It was usurped by the Marquis of Drogheda, 
and I contested it. 

On the day of the election, my eldest brother and myself 
being candidates, and the business preparing to begin, a cry was 
heard that the whole colliery was coming down from Donane, 
about ten miles off. The returning officer, Mr. French, lost no 
time : six voters were polled against me ; mine were Refused 
generally, in mass ; the books were repacked and the poll de- 
clared ; the election ended, and my opponents just retiring from 
the town, when seven or eight hundred colliers entered it with 
colours flying and pipers playing ; their faces were all blackened, 
and a more tremendous assemblage was scarce ever seen. After 
the usual shoutings, etc., the chief captain came up to me — 
"Counsellor, dear!" said he, "we're all come from Donane to 
help your honour against the villains that oppose you ; — we're 
the boys that can tittivate /* — Barrington for ever ! hurra ! " Then 
coming close to me, and lowering his tone, he added, — " Coun- 
sellor, jewel ! which of the villains shall we settle first V 

To quiet him, I shook his black hand, told him nobody should 
be hurt, and that the gentlemen had all left the town. 

He could have witnessed nothing, heard of nothing, in the whole course of his life, 
which could justify such a saying. The general fidelity of servants, in all ages 
and climes, is an honour to human nature. The existence of so much virtue in 
humble life is a proud boast in those times, when domestics are exposed to so 
many changes of masters, and their affections so little appreciated. Discoursing 
on this subject with the late amiable Lord Massareene, he assured me that nothing 
in the history of mankind struck him with more admiration than the fidelity of 
domestics, in spite of all discouragement. 

* Still used in rjenieel slav/j, in the sense of adorning, decking out with nicety. 



" Wliy then, counsellor," said he, " we'll be after overtaking 
them. Barrington for ever ! — Donane, boys !" 

I feared that I had no control over the riotous humour of the 
colliers, and knew but one mode of keeping them quiet. I de- 
sired Billy Howard, the innkeeper, to bring out all the ale he 
had ; and having procured many barrels in addition, together 
with all the bread and cheese in the place, I set them at it as 
hard as might be. I told them I was sure of being elected in 
Dublin, and " to stay asy" (their own language) ; and in a little 
time I made them as tractable as lambs. They made a bonfire 
in the evening, and about ten o'clock I left them as happy and 
merry a set of colliers as ever existed. Such as were able 
strolled back in the night, and the others next morning, -and not 
the slightest injury was done to anybody or anything. 

Tliis was a totally unexpected and voluntary proof of the 
disinterested and ardent attachment of the Irish country people 
to all who they thought would protect or procure them justice. 


barkington's personal sketches 


My godfathers were Mr. Pool of Ballyfin and Captain Pigott of 
Brocologh Park ; and I must have been a very pleasant infant, 
for Mr. Pool, having no children, desired to take me home with 
him, in which case I should probably have cut out of feather a 
very good person and a very kind friend — the present Lord 
Maryborough, whom Mr. Pool afterwards adopted whilst a mid- 
shipman in the navy, and bequeathed him a noble demesne and 
a splendid estate near my father's. My family have always sup- 
ported Lord Maryborough, for Queen's County, and his lordship's 
tenants supported me in my hard-contested election for Mary- 
borough in 1800. 

No public functionary could act more laudably than Mr. Pool 
did whilst secretary in Ireland ; and it must be a high gratifica- 
tion to him to reflect that, in the year 1800, he did not abet the 
degradation of his country. 

Captain Pigott expressed the same desire to patronise me as 
Mr. Pool ; — received a similar refusal, and left his property, I 
believe, to a parcel of hospitals : whilst I was submitted to the 
guardianship of Colonel Jonah Barrington, and the instructions 
of Mr. Michael Lodge, a person of very considerable consequence 
in my early memoirs, and to whose ideas and eccentricities I 
really believe I am indebted for a great proportion of my own, 
and certainly not the worst of them. 

Mr. George Lodge had married a love-daughter of old Stephen 
Fitzgerald, Esq. of Bally Thomas, who, by affinity, was a relative 
of the house of Cullenaghmore, and from this union sprang Mr. 
Michael Lodge. 

I never shall forget his figure ! — he was a tall man with thin 
legs and great hands, and was generally biting one of his nails 



whilst employed in teacliing me. The top of his head was half 
bald ; his hau- was clubbed with a rose-ribbon ; a tight stock, 
with a large silver buckle to it behind, appeared to be almost 
choking him : his chin and jaws were very long ; and he used to 
hang his under jaw, shut one eye, and look up to the ceiling, 
when he was thinking or trying to recollect anything. 

^Ir. ^lichael Lodge had been what is called a matross in the 
artillery service. My grandfather had got him made a ganger ; 
but he was turned adrift for letting a poor man do something 
\\Tong about distilling.* He then became a land-surveyor and 
architect for the farmers ; he could farry, cure cows of the mur- 
rain, had numerous secrets about cattle and physic, and was 
accounted the best bleeder and bone-setter in that county : all 
of which healing accomplishments he exercised gratis. He was 
also a famous brewer and accountant. In fine, he was every- 
thing at Cullenagh : steward, agent, caterer, farmer, sportsman, 
secretary, clerk to the colonel as a magistrate, and also clerk to 
Mr. Barret as the parson ; but he would not sing a stave in 
church, though he'd chant indefatigably in the hall. He had the 
greatest contempt for women, and used to beat the maid-servants; 
whilst the men durst not vex him, as he was quite despotic ! 
He had a turning-latlie, a number of grinding-stones, and a car- 
penter's bench, in his room. He used to tin the sauce-pans, 
which act he called chymistry ; and I have seen him, like a 
tailor, putting a new cape to his riding-coat ! He made all sorts 
of nets, and knit stockings ; but above all he piqued himself on 
the variety and depth of his learning. 

Under the tuition of this Mr. IMichael Lodge, who was sur- 
named the " wise man of Cullenaghmore," I was placed at four 
years of age, to learn as much of the foregoing as he could teach 
me in the next five years : at the expiration of which period he 
had no doubt of my knowing as much as himself, and then, he 
said, I should go to school " to teach the mccster!' 

This idea of teachiag the master was the greatest possible 

* The simple principle of composition violated in this sentence by the need- 
less and awkward change of case seems to have been long neglected. 


barrington's personal sketches 

incitement to me ; and as there was no other child in the house, 
I never was idle, but was as inquisitive and troublesome as can 
be imagined. Everything was explained to me ; and I not only 
got on surprisingly, but my memory was found to be so strong, 
that Mr. Michael Lodge told my grandfather half learning would 
answer me as well as whole learning would another child. In 
truth, before my sixth year, I was making a very great hole in 
Mr. Lodge's stock of information, fortification and gunnery ex- 
cepted ; and I verily believe he only began to learn many things 
himself when he commenced teaching them to me. 

He took me a regular course by horn-book, primer, spelling- 
book, reading-made-easy, ^sop's Fables, etc. ; but I soon aspired 
to such of the old library books as had pictures in them. A very 
large History of the Bible, with cuts, was my constant study. 
Hence I learned how every saint was murdered ; and Mr. Lodge 
not only told me that each martyr had a painter to take his like- 
ness before death, but also explained to me how they had all sat 
for their pictures, and assured me that most of them had been 
murdered by the Pa;pists. 

Mr. Michael Lodge zealously used his heart, head, and hands, 
to teach me most things that he did know, and many things he 
did not know ; but with a skill which none of our schoolmasters 
practise, he made me think he was only amusing instead of giv- 
ing me a task. The old man tried to make me inquisitive, and 
inclined to ask about the thing which he wished to explain to 
me ; and, consequently,* at eight years old I could read prose 
and poetry, write text, draw a house, a horse, and a game-cock,t 
tin a copper saucepan, and turn my own tops. I could do the 
manual exercise with my grandfather's crutch ; and had learnt, 
besides, how to make bullets, pens, and black ball ; to dance a 
jig, sing a cronane, and play the Jew's harp. Michael also 
showed me, out of Scripture, how the world stood stock still 

* This consequently is intended, no doubt, as a shade for the effulgent egotism. 
After all. Sir Jonah Barrington boasts of little, 

t "And the long boio," cried Counsellor Oulton as I was reading this place to 
him many years ago. 



whilst the sun was gallopmg round it ; so that it was no easy 
matter at college to satisfy me as to the Copernican system. 

This course of education I most sedulously followed until it 
pleased God to suspend my learning by the death of my grand- 
father, on whom I doated. He had taught me the broadsword 
exercise with his cane, how to snap a pistol, and shoot with the 
bow and arrow ; and had bespoken a little quarter-staff to perfect 
me in that favourite exercise of his youth, by which he had been 
enabled to knock a gentleman's brains out for a wager, on the 
ridge of Maryborough, in company with the grandfather of the 
present Judge Arthur Moore,* of the Common Pleas of Ireland. 
It is a whimsical gratification to me to tliink that I do not at 
this moment forget much of the said instruction which I received 
either from ^lichael Lodge the Matross, or from Colonel Jonah 
Barrington — though after a lapse of nearly sixty years ! 

A new scene was now to be opened to me. I was carried to 
Dublin, and put to the famous schoolmaster of that day. Dr. Ball, 
of St. Micliael-a-Po well's, Ship Street ; and here my puzzling 
commenced in good earnest. I was required to learn the English 
Grammar in tlie Latin tongue ; and to translate languages with- 
out understanding any of them. I was taught prosody without 
verse, and rhetoric without composition ; and before I had ever 
heard any oration except a sermon, I was flogged for not mind- 
ing my emphasis in recitation. To complete my satisfaction, — 
for fear I should be idle during the course of the week, castiga- 
tion was regularly administered every ^Monday morning, to give 
me, by anticipation, a sample of what the repetition-day might 

* One of the famous band who opposed the Union in the Irish parliament. 
He was a man of talent ; and outshone Grattan himself in that antithetical elo- 
quence which w as so prevalent in his time. I asked him once his opinion of 
Bully Egan, of wliom I had heard so much, but read nothing : " He was an honest 
man," replied the old judge; "he had but one eye, like Polyphemus, which saw 
straight ahead, like the barrel of a pistol. In genius, he was a tar-barrel, which 
readily took fire and then smelt abominably. He was a bit of a comedian, but no 
more comic than Lysaght." 

+ I saw or suffered as much whimsical and cruel discipline as any youth of my 
VOL. I. D 


baerington's personal sketches 

However, notwithstanding all this, I worked my way, got 
two premiums, and at length was reported fit to be placed under 
the hands of a private tutor, by whom I was to be finished for 
the University. 

That tutor was well known many years in Digges Street, 
Dublin, and cut a still more extraordinary figure than the Mat- 
ross. He was the Eev. Patrick Crawly, Eector of Killgobbin. 
My tutor's person was, in my imagination, of the same genus as 
that of Caliban. His feet covered a considerable space of any 
room wherein he stood, and his thumbs were so large that he 
could scarcely hold a book without hiding more than half the 
page of it : — though bulky himself, his clothes doubled the 
dimensions proper to suit his body ; and an immense frowzy 
wig, powdered once a- week, covered a head which, for size and 
form, might vie with a quarter-cask. 

Yet this was as good-hearted a parson as ever lived : — affec- 
tionate, friendly, and, so far as Greek, Latin, Prosody, and Euclid 
went, excelled by few ; and under him I acquired, in one year, 
more classical knowledge than I had done during the former 

The college course at that time, though a very learned one, 
was ill arranged, pedantic, and totally out of sequence. Students 
were examined in " Locke on the Human Understanding," before 
their own had arrived at the first stage of muturity ; and Euclid 
was pressed upon their reason before any one of them could com- 
prehend a single problem. "We were set to work at the most 
abstruse sciences before we had well digested the simpler ones, 
and posed ourselves at optics, natural philosophy, ethics, astro- 
nomy, mathematics, metaphysics, etc. etc., without the least 
relief from belles-lettres, modern history, geography, or poetry ; 
in short, without regard to any of those acquirements — the 
classics excepted, which form essential parts of a gentleman's 

time, but never knew a Rhadamanthiis whose scourge forestalled delinquency. I 
am sure that recourse was sometimes had to a fasciculus of nettles ! 

* Mr. Hutchinson, a later provost, father of Lord Donoughmore, went into the 



iN'evertheless, I jogged on with hcne for the classics, satis for 
the sciences, and mcdiocriter for mathematics. I had, however, 
the mortification of seeing the stupidest fellows I ever met, at 
school or college, beat me out of the field in some of the exami- 
nations, and very justly obtain premiums for sciences which I 
could not bring within the scope of my comprehension. 

My consolation is that many men of superior talent to my- 
self came off no better ; and I had the satisfaction of knowing 
that some of the most erudite, studious, and distinguished of my 
contemporary collegians, went raving — and others melancholy — 
mad ; and I do believe that there are at this moment five or six 
of the most eminent of my academic rivals roaring in asylums 
for lunatics.* 

opposite extreme ; a most excellent classic scliolar himself, he wished to introduce 
everj' elegant branch of enidition : — to cultivate the modern languages, — in short, 
to adapt the course to the education of men of rank as well as men of science- 
The plan was most laudable, but was voted not monastic enough — indeed, a 
polished gentleman would have operated like a ghost amongst those pedantic 

Mr. Hutchinson went too far in proposing a riding-house. The scheme drew 
forth from Dr. Duigenan a pamphlet called * ' Pranceriana," which turned the 
project and projector into most consummate, but very coarse and ill-natured 

Doctor Barrett, late vice-provost, dining at the table of the new provost, who 
lived in a style of elegance attempted by none of his predecessors, helped himself 
to what he thought a peach, but which happened to be a shape made of ice. On 
taking it into his mouth, never having tasted ice before, he supposed, from the 
pang given to his teeth, and the shock which his tongue and mouth instantly re- 
ceived, that the sensation was produced by heat. Starting up, therefore, he cried 
out, swore he was scalded, and roared for an apothecary. [Sir Jonah would be 
surprised to hear that the books of mathematics which stunned him would now 
be regarded as rubbish by boys of fifteen in the Dublin University. To the pre- 
sent curriculum little is wanted but the encouraged cultivation of English. Not 
derivations, not the hunting of archaisms, not grammatical analysis, not rheto- 
rical themes, constitute the teaching of English. These are but the garments of 
a charming art sadly neglected, and but dimly perceived.] 

* The tone of this passage is shocking ; but that it is not serious is easily dis- 
coverable. If it were, there would have been no need to have put "satisfaction" 
in italics. Again, the next paragraph is a generous one. What I blame Barring- 
ton for is, that he has fallen into the vulgar idea that " wit and madness nearly 
are allied." The history of literature shows but one example — Tasso — of mental 

36 barrington's personal sketches 

When I seek amusement by tracing the fate of such of my 
school and college friends as I can get information about, I find 
that many of the most promising and conspicuous have met un- 
timely ends ; and that most of those men whose great talents 
distinguished them first in the university and afterwards at the 
bar, had entered, as sizers, for provision as well as for learning. 
Indigence and genius were thus jointly concerned in their merited 
elevation ; and I am convinced that the finest abilities are fre- 
quently buried alive in affluence and in luxury. 

The death of my grandmother, which now took place, made 
a very considerable change in my situation, and I had sense 
enough, though still very young, to see the necessity of turning 
my mind towards a preparation for some lucrative profession — 
either law, physic, divinity, or war. 

I debated on all these, as I thought, with great impartiality : 
— the pedantry of college disgusted me with clericals ; wooden 
legs put me out of conceit with warfare ; the horror of death made 
me shudder at medicine ; and whilst the law was but a lottery- 
trade, too precarious for my taste, manufacture was too humiliat- 
ing for my pride. ^Tothing, on the other hand, could induce me 
to remain a walking gentleman ; and so, every occupation that I 
could think of having its peculiar disqualification, I remained a 
considerable time in a state of great uncertainty and disquietude. 

Meanwhile, although my choice had nothing to do with the 
matter, I got almost imperceptibly engaged in that species of 
profession exercised by a young sportsman, whereby I was ini- 
tiated into a number of accomplishments ten times worse than 
the negative ones of the walking gentleman — namely, riding, 
drinking, dancing, carousing, hunting, shooting, fishing, fighting, 
racing, cock-fighting, etc. etc. 

After my grandmother's death, as my father's country-house 
was my home, so my two elder brothers became my tutors — the 

disorder amongst men of high intellectual endowments. I have had fifty times 
the amount of opportunity that Barrington had to speak on this matter with some 
authority, yet I have not to record a single instance of youthful genius blighted 
by disease. 



rustics my precedents — and a newspaper my literature. How- 
ever, the foundation for my propensities had been too well laid 
to be easily rooted up ; and though for a while I indidged in the 
habits of those around me, I did not neglect the piu'suits I had 
been previously accustomed to. I had a pretty good assortment 
of books of my own, and seldom passed a day without devoting 
some part of it to reading or letter-writing. I certainly some- 
what nus-spent, but cannot accuse myself of having lost, the 
period I passed at Bladsfort, since I obtained there a full insight 
into the manners, habits, and dispositions of the different classes 
of the Irish, in situations and under circumstances which per- 
mitted nature to exhibit her traits without restraint or caution. 

It is quite impossible I can give a better idea of the dissipa- 
tion of that period, into which I was thus plunged, than by 
describing an incident I shall never forget, and which occurred 
very soon after my first entree into the sporting sphere. 


barkington's personal sketches 


Close to the kennel of my father's hounds he had built a small 
cottage, which was occupied solely by an old huntsman, his 
older wife, and his nephew, a whipper-in. The chase, the 
bottle, and the piper, were the enjoyments of winter ; and 
nothing could recompense a suspension of these enjoyments. 

My elder brother, justly apprehending that the frost and 
snow of Christmas might probably prevent their usual occupa- 
tion of the chase, determined to provide against any listlessness 
during the shut-up period, by an uninterrupted match of what 
was called " hard going," till the weather should break up. 

A hogshead of superior claret was therefore sent to the 
cottage of old Quin the huntsman ; and a fat cow, killed, and 
plundered of her skin, was hung up by the heels. All the 
windows were closed to keep out the light. One room, filled 
with straw and numerous blankets, was destined for a bed- 
chamber in common ; and another was prepared as a kitchen for 
the use of the servants. Claret, cold, mulled, or buttered, was 
to be the beverage for the whole company ; and in addition to 
the cow above mentioned, chickens, bacon, and bread, were the 
only admitted viands. Wallace and Hosey, my father's and my 
brother's pipers, and Doyle, a blind but a famous fiddler, were 
employed to enliven the banquet, which it was determined 
should continue till the cow became a skeleton, and the claret 
should be on its stoop. 

My two elder brothers ; two gentlemen of the name of 
Taylor, one of them afterwards became a writer in India ; a Mr. 
Barrington Lodge, a rough songster ; Frank Skelton, a jester and 
a butt ; Jemmy Moffat, the most knowing sportsman of the 
neighbourhood ; and two other sporting gentlemen of the 



country ; — these composed the permanent bacchanalians. A 
few visitors were occasionally admitted. 

As for myseK, I was too unseasoned to go through more than 
the first ordeal, which was on a frosty St. Stephen's day, when 
the ''hard goers'' partook of their opening banquet, and several 
neighbours were in\ited, to honour the commencement of what 
they called their " shut-iop pilgrimaged 

The old huntsman was the only male attendant ; and his 
ancient spouse, once a kitchen-maid in the family, now some- 
what resembling the amiable Leonarda in Gil Bias, was the 
cook ; whilst the drudgery fell to the lot of the whipper-in. A 
long knife was prepared to cut collops from the cow ; a large 
turf fire seemed to court the gridiron ; the pot bubbled up as if 
proud of its contents, whilst plump white chickens floated in 
crowds upon the surface of the water ; the simmering potatoes, 
just bursting their drab surtouts, exposed the delicate whiteness 
of their mealy bosoms ; the claret was tapped, and the long 
earthen wide-mouthed pitchers stood gaping under the impatient 
cock, to receive their portions. 

I shall never forget the attraction this novelty had for my 
youthful mind. All thoughts but those of good cheer were for 
the time totally obliterated. A few curses were, it is true, 
requisite to spur on old Leonarda's skill, but at length the 
banquet entered : the luscious smoked bacon, bedded on its 
cabbage mattress, and partly obscured by its own savoury steam, 
might have tempted the most fastidious of epicures ; whilst the 
round trussed chickens, ranged by the half-dozen on hot pewter 
dishes, turned up their white plump merry-thoughts exciting 
equally the eye and appetite ; fat collops of the hanging cow, 
sliced indiscriminately from her tenderest points, grilled over 
the clear embers upon a shining gridiron, half-drowned in their 
own luscious juices, and garnished with little pyramids of con- 
genial shalots, smoked at the bottom of the well-furnished board. 
A prologue of cherry-boimce (brandy) preceded the entertain- 
ment, which was enlivened by hob-nobs and joyous toasts. 

Numerous toasts, in fact, as was customary in those days, 


bareington's personal sketches 

intervened to prolong and give zest to the repast — every man 
shouted forth his fair favourite, or convivial pledge ; and each 
voluntarily surrendered a portion of his own reason, in bumpers 
to the beauty of his neighbour's toast. The pipers jerked from 
their bags appropriate planxties to every jolly sentiment ; the 
fiddler sawed his merriest jigs ; the old huntsman sounded his 
horn, and thrusting his forefinger into his ear (to aid the 
quaver), gave the view holloa ! of nearly ten minutes' duration ; 
to which melody Tally ho ! was responded by every stentorian 
voice. A fox's brush stuck into a candlestick, in the centre of 
the table, was worshipped as a divinity ! 

My reason gradually began to lighten me of its burden, and 
in its last efforts kindly suggested the straw-chamber as my 
asylum. Just as I was closing my eyes to a twelve hours' 
slumber, I distinguished the general roar of " Stole away ! " which 
rose almost up to the very roof of old Quin's cottage. 

At noon, next day, a scene of a different nature was exhibited. 
I found, on waking, two associates by my side, in as perfect in- 
sensibility as that from which I had just aroused. Our piper 
seemed indubitably dead ! but the fiddler, who had the privilege 
of age and blindness, had taken a hearty nap, and seemed as 
much alive as ever. 

• The room of banquet had been re-arranged by the old woman : 
spitchcocked chickens, fried rashers, and broiled marrow-bones, 
appeared struggling for precedence. The clean cloth looked, 
itself, fresh and exciting ; jugs of mulled and buttered claret 
foamed hot upon the refurnished table, and a better or heartier 
breakfast I never in my life enjoyed. 

A few members of the jovial crew had remained all night at 
their posts ; but I suppose alternately took some rest, as they 
seemed not at all affected by their repletion. Soap and hot 
water restored at once their spirits and their persons ; and it 
was determined that the rooms should be ventilated and cleared 
out for a cock-fight, to pass time till the approach of dinner. 

In this battle-royal every man backed his own bird ; twelve 
of which courageous animals were set down together to fight it 



out — the sunivor to gain alL In point of principle, the battle 
of the Horatii and Ciiriatii Tvas re-acted ; and in about an hour 
one cock crowed out his triumph over the mangled body of his 
last opponent ; — being himseK, strange to say, but little wounded. 
The other eleven lay dead ; and to the "sictor was unanimously 
voted a writ of ease, with sole monarchy over the hen-roost for 
the remainder of his days ; and I remember him, for many 
years, the proud commandant of his poultry-yard and seraglio. 
Fresh \'isitors were introduced each successive day, and the 
seventh morning had arisen before the feast broke up. As that 
day advanced, the cow was proclaimed to have furnished her full 
quantlun of good dishes ; the claret was upon its stoop, and the 
last gallon, mulled with a pound of spices, was drunk in tum- 
blers to the next merry meeting! All now retired to their 
natural rest, until the evening announced a difierent scene. 

An early supper, to be partaken of by all the young folks, of 
both sexes, in the neighbourhood, was provided in the dwelling- 
house, to terminate the festivities. A dance, as usual, wound 
up the entertainment ; and what was then termed a " raking 
pot of tea," put a finishing stroke, in jollity and good-humour, to 
such a revel as I never saw before, and, I am sure, shaU never 
see again. 

When I compare with the foregoing the habits of the present 
day, and see the grandsons of those joyous and vigorous sports- 
men mincing their fish and tit-bits at their favourite box in 
Bond Street, amalgamating their ounce of salad on a silver 
saucer, employing six sauces to coax one appetite, burning up 
the palate to make its enjoyments the more exquisite, sipping 
their acid claret, disguised by an olive or neutralised by a chest- 
nut ; lisping out for the scented waiter, and pajdng him the 
price of a feast for the modicum of a Lilliputian, and the pay of 
a captain for the attendance of a blackguard — it amuses me 
extremely, and makes me speculate on what their forefathers 
would have done to those admirable Epicenes, if they had had 
them at the " Pilgiimage " in the huntsman's cot. 

To these extremes of former roughness and modern affec- 


bareington's personal sketches 

tation, it would require the pen of such a writer as Fielding to 
do ample justice. It may, however, afford our reader some 
diversion to trace the degrees which led from the grossness of 
the former down to the effeminacy of the latter ; and these may, 
in a great measure, be collected from the various incidents which 
will be found scattered throughout these sketches of sixty 
annual orbits. 

Nothing, indeed, can better illustrate the sensation which the 
grandfathers, or even aged fathers, of these slim lads of the Bond 
Street establishments, must have felt upon finding their offspring 
in the occupation I have just mentioned, than a story relating 
to Captain Parsons Hoye of County Wicldow, who several years 
since met with an instance of the kind at Hudson's, in Covent 

A nephew of his, an effeminate young fellow, who had re- 
turned from travelling, and who expected to be his heir, acci- 
dentally came into the coffee-room. N'either uncle nor nephew 
knew each other ; but old Parsons' disgust at the dandified 
manners, language, and dress of the youth, gave rise to an oc- 
currence which drew from the bluff seaman epithets rather too 
coarse to record ; the end of it was, that, when Parsons dis- 
covered the relationship of the stranger, he struck him out of a 
will which he had made, and died very soon after, as if on 
purpose to mortify the macaroni ! 

We will take this opportunity of subjoining an accurate 
description of the person of Captain Parsons Hoye, thereby 
enabling our reader to estimate the singularity of his collision 
with the dandy. 

Commodore Trunnion was a civilised man, and a beauty, 
compared to Parsons Hoye. He had a moderate hereditary pro- 
perty near Wicklow ; had been a captain in the royal navy ; 
was a bad farmer, a worse sportsman, and a blustering justice of 
peace ; but great at potation I and what was called, " in the 
main, a capital fellow." He was nearly as boisterous as his 
adopted element : his voice was always as if on the quarter-deck ; 
and the whistle of an old boatswain, who had been decapitated 



by his side, hung as a memento, by a thong of leather, to his 
waistcoat button-hole. It was frequently had recourse to, and, 
whenever he wanted a word, supplied the deficiency. 

In form the Captain was squat, broad, and coarse. A large 
purple nose, with a broad crimson chin to match, were the only 
features of any consequence in his countenance, except a couple 
of good enough bloodshot eyes, screened by most exuberant giizzle 
eyelashes. His powdered wig had beliind it a queue in the 
form of a handspike, and a couple of rolled-up paste curls, like 
a pair of carronades, adorned its broad-sides ; a blue coat, with 
slash cuffs and plenty of navy buttons, surmounted a scarlet 
waistcoat ; a black Barcelona adorned his neck ; and an old 
round hat bordered with gold lace, and turned up on one side, 
with a huge cockade stuck into a buttonless loop, gave liim a 
swaggering air. He bore a shillelagh, the growth of his own 
estate, in a fist which would cover more ground than the best 
shoulder of wether mutton in a London market.* Yet the 
Captain had a look of generosity, good nature, benevolence, and 
hospitality, which his features did their very best to conceal, and 
which none but a good physiognomist could possibly discover. 

* To tone down passages of this kind would be entirely without the editorial 
province. They must be preserved for their very extravagance. 


bareington's personal sketches 


I MET with a ludicrous instance of the dissipation of even later 

days a few months after my marriage. Lady B and myself 

took a tour through some of the southern parts of Ireland, and 
among other places visited Castle Durrow, near which place my 
brother, Henry French Barrington, had built a hunting cottage, 
wherein he happened to have given a house-warming the pre- 
vious day. 

The company, as might be expected at such a place and on 
such an occasion, was not the most select : — in fact, they were 
" hard-going " sportsmen. 

Amongst the rest, Mr. Joseph Kelly, of unfortunate fate, 
brother to Mr. Michael Kelly (who by-the-by does not say a 
word about him in his Eeminiscences), had been invited, to add 
to the merriment by his pleasantry and voice, and had come 
down from Dublin for the purpose. 

It may not be amiss to say something here of that remark- 
able person. I knew him from his early youth. His father was 
a dancing-master in Mary Street, Dublin ; and I found in the 
newspapers of that period a number of puffs, in French and 
English, of Mr. O'Kelly's abilities in that way. What could put 
it into his son's head that his father had been Master of the cere- 
monies at Dublin Castle is rather perplexing ! He became a 
wine-merchant latterly, dropped the 0, and was a well-conducted 
and respectable man.* 

Joe was a slender young man, remarkably handsome ; but, 
with regard to character, always what in that part of the country 

* But as he was a Roman Catholic, and as no Roman Catholic could then hold 
any office in the vice-regal establishment of Dublin Castle, Mr. M. Kelly must 
have been misinformed on that point as to his father, whom I have often seen. — (B.) 



they emphatically styled " the devil /" He sang the songs of 
Young Meadows, in " Love in a Village," extremely well, as like- 
wise those of Macheath and other parts ; but he could never give 
the acting any effect. He was, strictly speaking, a bravura 
singer ; — there was no pathos — nothing tottchant in his cadences, 
but in drinking-songs, etc., he was unrivalled. The last conver- 
sation I had with him was on the Boulevard Italien, in Paris. 
I was walking with my son, then belonging to the 5th Dragoon 
Guards. Kelly came up and spoke to us, but my son remained 
silent. Kelly seemed surprised, and said, Don't you know me, 
Barrington? why don't you speak to me?" — "'Tis because I do 
know you that I do Twt speak to you," replied my son. Kelly 
blushed, but turned it off with a laugh. I now know the sarcasm 
well merited. Joe Kelly killed his man in a duel, for which he 
was tried and narrowly escaped. According to his own account, 
indeed, he killed plenty more men at the battle of Waterloo and 
in other actions. He was himself shot at Paris by a commissary 
with whom he had quarrelled, and the humorists remarked there- 
upon that Joe had died a natural death. 

Of this convivial assemblage at my brother's, he was, I 
suppose, the very life and soul. The dining-room had not been 
finished when the day of the dinner-party arrived, and the lower 
parts of the walls having only that morning received their last 
coat of plaster, were, of course, totally wet. 

We had intended to surprise my brother ; but had not calcu- 
lated on the scene I was to witness. It was about ten in the 
morning ; the room was strewed with empty bottles — some broken 
— some interspersed with glasses, plates, dishes, knives, spoons, 
etc., all in glorious confusion. Here and there were heaps of 
bones, relics of the former day's entertainment, which the dogs, 
seizing their opportunity, had cleanly j)icked. Three or four of 
the bacchanalians lay fast asleep upon chairs ; one or two others 
were on the floor, among whom a piper lay on his back, apparently 
dead, with a table-cloth spread over him, and surrounded by four 
or five candles, burnt to the sockets ; his chanter and bags were 
laid scientifically across his body, his mouth was quite open, and 


barrington's personal sketches 

his nose made ample amends for the silence of liis drone. Joe 
Kelly and a Mr. Peter Alley were fast asleep in their chairs, 
close to the wall. 

Had I never viewed such a scene before, it would have 
almost terrified me ; but it was nothing more than the ordinary 
custom which we called waking the piper, when he had got too 
drunk to make any more music. 

.1 went out, and sent away my carriage and its inmate to 
Castle Durrow, whence we had come, and afterwards proceeded 
to seek my brother. No servant was to be seen, man or woman. 
I went to the stables, wherein I found three or four more of the 
goodly company, who had just been able to reach their horses, 
but were seized by Morpheus before they could mount them, and 
so lay in the mangers awaiting a more favourable opportunity. 
Eeturning hence to the cottage, I found my brother, also asleep, 
on the only bed which it then afforded : he had no occasion to 
put on his clothes, since he had never taken them off. 

I next w^aked Dan Tyron, a wood-ranger of Lord Ashbrook, 
who had acted as maitre d'hotel in making the arrangements, and 
providing a horse-load of game to fill up the banquet. I then 
inspected the parlour, and insisted on breakfast. Dan Tyron set 
to work : an old woman was called in from an adjoining cabin, 
the windows were opened, the room cleared, the floor swept, the 
relics removed, and the fire lighted in the kitchen. The piper 
was taken away senseless, but my brother would not suffer either 
J oe or Alley to be disturbed till breakfast was ready. After a 
brief interval, we had before us eggs, milk, brandy, sugar, nut- 
meg, a large loaf, fresh butter, a cold round of beef, red herrings, 
a dish of potatoes roasted on the turf-ashes, ale, whisky, and 
port. All being duly in order, we at length awakened Joe Kelly 
and Peter Alley, his neighbour : and my brother announced 
breakfast with a vieio halloa I * 

* The author elongated this chapter with four tiresome pages, the pointless 
absurdity of which I shall condense, not so much to reward the reader's curiosity 
as to give a lesson to the purveyors of Irish anecdotes. Joe and Peter, who had 
fallen asleep in their chairs, are represented as having made a pillow of the adja- 
cent wall, to which their heads were invited by a soft coat of mortar, laid on the 



I ate a hearty breakfast, returned to Durrow, and, having re- 
joined my companion, we pursued our journey to Waterford, — 
amusing ourselves the greater part of the way with the cii'cum- 
stances of the carouse,* which, however, I do not record merely 
as an abstract anecdote, but, as I observed in starting, to show 
the manners and habits of Irish country society and sportsmen, 
even so recently as thirty years ago ; and to illustrate the changes 
of those habits and manners, and the advances towards civilisa- 
tion, which, coupled with the extraordinary want of corresponding 
prosperity,^ present phenomena I am desirous of impressing upon 
my reader's mind, throughout the whole of this miscellaneous 
collection of original anecdotes and observations. 

same day. During the doze the noddles became imbedded in the cement, which 
•'set fast from the heat and lights of an eighteen hours' carousal." Hair being 
the thing most calculated to amalgamate therewith, the entire of Joe's stock, 
together with his queue, and half his head, was thoroughly imbedded in the greedy 
cement. The effort to rise caused by the lusty summons to breakfast, drew forth 
a roar of distress, which accompanied repeated struggles for extrication. The 
assistance of a stone-cutter was proposed ; melted butter and new milk were tried 
as solvents ; and, with equal want of success, Hannibal's recipe of hot vinegar. 
At last Peter whetted two dinner-knives against each other, and "sawed away at 
cross comers till he was liberated with the loss only of half of his hair and a piece 
of his scalp." For Joe's relief Bob Casey, a -sdg-maker, "just dropped in." How 
fortunate ! " In less than an hour's clipping with his scissors and rooting out 
with an oyster-knife" the skilful operator set Mr. Kelly at large, with "the ex- 
posure of a raw and bleeding occiput." 

Such were the wild, incredible, and stupid stories which once passed for wit 
or humour, and shocked no one's common sense. The taste for these things has 
gravitated very much ; so that Herbert's Irish Varieties is no longer popular. 

* As given in the last note. 

+ On this subject I think Sir Jonah's information must have been imperfect, 
and his views somewhat extreme. Forty years ago, when those " Sketches " first 
appeared, the agricultural resources of the country were not nearly developed to 
the extent shown by the last returns of the Eegistrar-General. But there then 
existed a substantial and diffused prosperity, whose circumference has long been 
narrowing round the absolute owners of the soil. This is an incontestable 
fact, which admits of calm discussion, suggests charitable sentiments, and appeals 
to the wisdom of all honest statesmen. A desolate splendour, a wealth that 
spreads no human bliss, dominion over paupers, empire without people — these are 
melancholy and alarming contemplations ; let them be removed from our appre- 
hensions by a timely combination of goodwill, moderation, and intelligence. 


bakkington's personal sketches 


My veering opinion as to a choice of profession was nearly 
decided by tliat military ardour wliich seized all Ireland, when 
the whole country had entered into resolutions to free itself for 
ever from English domination. The entire kingdom took up 
arms — regiments were formed in every quarter — the highest, 
the lowest, and the middle orders, all entered the ranks of 
freedom ; and every corporation, whether civil or military, 
pledged life and fortune to attain and establish Irish inde- 

My father had raised and commanded two corps — a dragoon 
regiment called the CuUenagh Eangers, and the Ballyroan Light 
Infantry. My elder brother commanded the Kilkenny Horse 
and the Durrow Light Dragoons. The general enthusiasm 
caught me, and before I well knew what I was about, I found 
myself a military martinet and a red-hot patriot. Having been 
a university man, I was also considered to be of course a writer, 
and was accordingly called on to draw up resolutions for 
volunteer regiments all over the country. This was the first 
tirade I ever attempted on a political subject; and it being quite 
short enough and warm enough to be comprehended by all the 
parties, it was unanimously adopted — every man swearing, as 
he kissed the blade of his sword, that he would adhere to these 
resolutions to the last drop of his blood. 

The national point was gained, but not without much 
difficulty and danger. The Irish parliament had refused to 
grant supplies to the crown for more than six months. The 
people had entered into resolutions to prevent the importation 
of British merchandise or manufactures. The entire kingdom 
had disavowed all English authority or jurisdiction, external or 

OF HIS o^yx times. 


internal ; judges and magistrates had declined to act under British 
statutes ; the flame spread rapidly, and became irresistible. 

The British Government saw that either temporising or an 
appeal to force would occasion the final loss of Ireland — 150,000 
independent soldiers, well armed, well clothed, and well dis- 
ciplined, were not to be coped with ; and England yielded. 
Thus the volunteers kept their oaths, and did not lay down 
their arms until the independence of Ireland had been pro- 
nounced from the throne. 

Having carried our point with the English, and having 
proposed to prove our independence by going to war with 
Portugal about our linens, we completely set up for ourselves, 
except that Ireland was bound, constitutionally and irrevocably, 
never to have any king but the King of Great Britain. 

We were now in a fighting mood ; and being in good 
humour with England, determined to fight the French, who had 
threatened to invade us. I recollect a volunteer belonging to 
one of my father's corps, a schoolmaster of the name of Beal, 
proposing a resolution to the Ball}Toan Infantry, which pur- 
ported " that they would never stop fighting the French till 
they had flogged every man of them into mincemeat ! " This 
magnanimous resolution was adopted with cheers, and was, as 
usual, sicorn to, each hero kissing the muzzle of his musket. 

I am not going further into a history of those times, to which 
I have alluded in order to mention what fixed my determination, 
although but temporarily, to adopt the military profession. 

On communicating this decision to my father, he procured 
me, from a friend and neighbour. General Hunt Walsh, a 
commission in that ofiicer's own regiment, the 30th. The style 
of the thing pleased me very well ; but, upon being informed 
that I should immediately join the regiment in America, my 
heroic tendencies received a serious check. I had not contem- 
plated transatlantic emigration ; and, feeling that I could get 
my head broken just as well in my own country, I perceived 
my military ardour grow cooler and cooler every hour, till it 
was obviously defunct. I therefore wrote to the General a 

VOL. I. E 


barrington's personal sketches 

thankful letter, at the same time " begging the favour of him to 
present my commission in his regiment to some hardier soldier." 
The General accepted my resignation, and presented my com- 
mission to a young friend of his, whose brains were blown out in 
the very first engagement. 

Having thus rejected the military, I next turned my thoughts 
to that very opposite profession — the clerical. But, though 
preaching was certainly a much safer and more agreeable 
employment than bush-fighting, yet a curacy and a wooden leg 
being pretty much on a parallel in point of remuneration, and 
as I had the strongest objection to be haK-starved in the service 
of either the king or the altar, I also declined the cassock, 
assuring my father that " I felt I was not steady enough to 
make an ' exemplary parson.' " 

Medicine, therefore, was the next in the list of professions 
to which I had, abstractedly, some liking. I had attended 
several courses of anatomical lectures at Dublin, and, although 
with some repugnant feelings, I had studied that most sublime 
of all sciences, human organisation, by a persevering attention 
to the celebrated waxworks, of that university. But my horror 
and disgust of animal putridity in all its branches was so great, 
inclusive even of ripe venison, that all surgical practice by me 
was necessarily out of the question ; and medicine without 
surgery presenting no better chance than a curacy, it shared an 
equally bad fate with the sword and the pulpit. 

Of the liberal and learned professions there now remained 
but one — namely, the law. Now, as to this, I was told by 
several old practitioners, who had retired into the country from 
having no business to do in town, that if I was even as wise as 
Alfred, or as learned as Lycurgus, nobody would give me 
sixpence for all my law, if I had a hundredweight of it, until I 
had spent at least ten years in watching the manufacture. 
However, they consoled me by saying that if I could put up 
with light eating and water-drinking during that period, I might 
then have a reasonable chance of getting some briefs, particu- 
larly after having a gang of attorneys to dine with me. Here I 



was damped again ! and though I should have broken my heart 
if condemned to remain much longer a walking gentleman, I 
determined to wait a while, and see if nature would open my 
propensities a little wider, and give me some more decisive 
indication of what she thought me fittest for. 

Whilst in this comfortless state of indecision, my father, 
like other country gentlemen, to gratify his lady imder the 
shape of educating his childi^en, gave his consent to launch me 
into the new scenes and pleasures of a city residence. He 
accordingly purchased an excellent house in Clare Street, 
Merrion Square ; left a steward in the country to ??zz5manage 
his concerns there ; made up new wardrobes for the servants ; 
got a fierce three-cocked hat for himself ; and removed his estab- 
lishment, the hounds excepted, to the metropolis of Ireland. 

Here my good and weU-bred mother (for such she was) had her 
Galway pride revived and gratified ; the green coach de c&emonie 
was regilt and regarnished, and four black horses, with two pos- 
tilions and a sixteen-stone footman, completed her equipage. 

I had my bit of blood in the stable ; my elder brother, who 
had been in the 1st Horse, had plenty of them. My father had 
his old hunter, " BroAm Jack and we set out at what is 
commonly called a ffreat rate, but which great rates are generally, 
like a fox-chase, more hot than durable. However, the thing 
went on well enough ; and during our city residence many 
pleasurable and many whimsical incidents occurred to me and 
other indi\'iduals of my family, one of which was most interest- 
ing to myself, and will form a leading feature in my subsequent 

Before adverting to this, however, I will mention a lament- 
able event which occurred, during our stay in Clare Street, to a 
neighbour of ours. Captain O'Flaherty, brother to Sir John, 
whom I shall hereafter notice. The captain resided nearly 
facing us ; and though the event I speak of, and the very extra- 
ordinary incident which succeeded it, are clearly digressions, 
yet the whole story is so interesting, that I wiU, without further 
apology, introduce it. 


barrington's personal sketches 


Captain OTlaherty, a most respectable gentleman, resided in 
Clare Street, Dublin, exactly opposite my father's house. He 
had employed a person of the name of Lanegan, as tutor to the 
late John Burke O'Flaherty and his brothers. But after some 
little time Lanegan became more attentive to Mrs. O'Elaherty, 
the mother, than to her sons. 

This woman had no charms either of appearance or address, 
which might be thought calculated to captivate any one ; and 
there was a something indescribably repulsive in her general 
manners, in consequence whereof all acquaintance between her 
and our family soon terminated. Having encouraged Lanegan's 
attentions, she determined on enjoying his society without re- 
straint. With this view she procured arsenic through her para- 
mour's agency. 

The murderous scheme was carried into execution by Mrs. 
O'Flaherty herself, and the captain was found dead in his bed ! 
Some misgivings, however, were generated from the appearance 
of the body. A coroner's inquest was held, and the jury returned 
a verdict of poisoned hy arsenic. 

Mrs. O'Flaherty and Mr. Lanegan began now to suspect that 
they were in rather a ticklish situation, and determined to take 
a private journey into the country until they should discover 
how things were likely to go. The adulterous wife, full of crime 
and terror, conceived a suspicion that Lanegan, who had only 
purchased the poison by her directions, and had not administered 
it, might turn king's evidence, get the reward, and save himself 
by convicting her. Such a catastrophe she therefore determined 
if possible to prevent. 

On their journey she told him that, upon full consideration. 



she conceived there could be no possibility of bringing conclusive 
evidence against them, inasmuch as it would appear most pro- 
bable that the captain had, by accident, taken the poison himself 
— and that she was determined to surrender -and take her trial 
as soon as possible, recommending Mr. Lanegan to do the same. 
In pursuance of this decision, as they passed near the town of 
Gowran, County Kilkenny, she said, " There is the gate of a 
magistrate : do you go up first, put on a bold face, assure him of 
your entire innocence, and say that as infamous and false reports 
have been spread, both of yourself and me, you came expressly to 
surrender and take your trial ; — and that you could not live in 
society under such vile imputations ! Say, also, that you hear 
Mrs. O'Flaherty intends likewise to surrender herself in the 
evening, and request that he will be at home to receive her." 

Lanegan, suspecting no fraud, followed tliese instructions 
literally ; — he was secured, though without roughness, and pre- 
parations were made for his being taken to Dublin next day in 
custody. The magistrate waited for Mrs, OTlaherty, but she 
did not appear : he sent down to his gate-house to know if any 
lady had passed by : the porter informed him that a lady and 
gentleman had been near the gate in a carriage, in the morning, 
and that the gentleman got out and went up the avenue to the 
house, after which the lady had driven away. 

It now appearing that they had been actually together, and 
that Lanegan had been telling falsehoods respecting his com- 
panion, strong suspicions arose in the mind of the magistrate. 
His prisoner was confined more closely, sent under a strong 
guard to Dublin, indicted for murder, and tried at the ensuing 

Positive evidence was given of Lanegan' s criminal intercourse 
with Mrs. O'Flaherty, coupled with the strongest circumstantial 
proof against him. He had not the courage boldly to deny the 
fact, and being found guilty was sentenced to be hanged and 
quartered ; the former part of which sentence having been carried 
into execution, and his body cut on each limb, it was delivered 
up to his mother for burial. Mrs. O'Flaherty escaped beyond 


bareington's personal sketches 

sea, and has, I believe, never since been heard of in the 

Such is the history which forms a prelude to an occurrence 
in which I was a party, several years after, and which may be 
regarded as a curious illustration of stories of supposed ghosts. 

A Templar and a friend of mine, Mr. David Lander, a soft, 
fat, good-humoured superstitious young fellow, was sitting in his 
lodgings, Devereux Court, London, one evening at twilight. I 
was with him, and we were agreeably employed in eating straw- 
berries and drinking Madeira. While thus chatting away in 
cheerful mood, my back being towards the door, I perceived my 
friend's colour suddenly change : his eyes seemed fixed and ready 
to start out of his head ; his lips quivered convulsively ; his 
teeth chattered ; large drops of perspiration flowed down his 
forehead, and his hair stood nearly erect. 

I naturally conceived my friend was seized with a fit, and 
rose to assist him. He did not regard my movements in the 
least, but seizing a knife which lay on the table, with the gait 
of a palsied man retreated backwards — his eyes still fixed — to 
the distant part of the room, where he stood shivering, and at- 
tempting to pray ; but not at the moment recollecting any 
prayer, he began to repeat his catechism, thinking it the next 
best thing he could do : as — " What is your name ? David 
Lander ! Who gave you that nam€ ? My godfathers and god- 
mothers in my baptism ! " 

I instantly concluded the man was mad ; and turning about 
to go for some assistance, I was myself not a little startled at 
sight of a tall, rough-looking personage, many days unshaved, 
in a very shabby black dress, and altogether of the most uncouth 

"Don't be frightened, Mr. Lander," said the figure; "sure 
'tis me that's here." 

When Davy Lander heard the voice, he fell on his knees, 
and subsequently flat upon his face, in which position he lay 

The spectre, as I now began to imagine it, stalked towards 



the door, and I was in hopes he intended to make his exit 
thereby ; instead of which, however, having deliberately shut and 
bolted it, he sat himself down in the chair which I had pre- 
\iously occupied, with a countenance nearly as full of horror as 
that of Davy Lander liimself. 

I was now totally bewildered ; and scarce knowing what to 
do, was about to tiirow a jug of water over my friend, to revive 
him if possible, when the stranger, in a harsh croaking voice, 
cried — 

"For the love of God, give me some of that — for I am 
perishing ! " 

I accordingly did so, and he took the jug and drank immo- 

My friend Davy now ventured to look up a little, and per- 
ceiving that I was becoming so familiar with the goblin, his 
courage revived. He grew ashamed of his former terror, and 
affected to be stout as a lion ! though it was visible that he was 
not yet at his ease. He now roared out, in the broad Kerry 
dialect, — " Why then, blood and thunder ! is that you, Lane- 

" Ah, su', speak easy," said the wretched being. 

" How the devil," resumed Davy, " did you get your four 
quarters stitched together again, after the hangman cut them off 
of you at Stephen's Green !" 

"Ah, gentlemen!" exclaimed the poor culprit, " speak low. 
Have mercy on me, Master Davy : you know it was I taught 
you your Latin. I'm starving to death ! " 

" You shall not die in that way, you villanous schoolmaster !" 
said Davy, pushing towards him a loaf of bread and a bottle of 
wine that stood on the table. 

The miserable creature having eaten the bread with avidity, 
and drunk two or three glasses of wine, the lamp of life once 
more seemed to brighten up. After a pause, he communicated 
every circumstance relating to his sudden appearance before us. 
He confessed having bought the arsenic at the desire of Mrs. 
OTlaherty, and was aware of her design. He then informed us. 


baepjngton's personal sketches 

that after being duly hanged, the sheriff had delivered his body 
to his mother, but not until the executioner had given a cut on 
each limb, to save the law ; which cuts bled profusely, and were 
probably the means of preserving his life. His mother conceived 
that the vital spark was not extinct, and therefore had put him 
into bed, dressed his wounded limbs, and rubbed his neck with 
hot vinegar. Having steadily pursued this process, and accom- 
panied it by pouring warm brandy and water down his throat, 
in the course of an hour he was quite sensible, but experienced 
horrid pains for several weeks before his final recovery. His 
mother filled the coffin he was brought home in with bricks, and 
got some men to bury it the same night in Kilmainham burial- 
ground, as if ashamed to inter him in open day. For a long time 
he was unable to depart, being every moment in dread of dis- 
covery. At length, however, he got off by night in a smuggling 
boat, which landed him on the Isle of Man, and from thence he 
contrived to reach London, bearing a letter from a priest at Kerry 
to another priest who had lived in the Borough, the purport of 
which was to get him admitted into a monastery in France. He 
found the South wark priest was dead ; but recollecting that Mr. 
Lander, his old scholar, lived somewhere in the Temple, he got 
directed by a porter to the lodging. 

My friend Davy suffered this poor devil to sit in the chamber 
till the following evening. He then procured him a place in the 
night coach to Eye, from whence he got to St. Vallery, and was 
received, as I afterwards learnt from a very grateful letter which 
he sent to Lander, into the monastery of La Trappe, near Abbe- 
ville, where he lived in strict seclusion, and died some years 

This incident is not related as a mere isolated anecdote, 
unconnected with any serious general considerations ; but rather 
with a view to show how many deceptions a man's imagination 
may hastily subject him to ; and to impress the consideration, 
that nothing should be regarded as supernatural which can by 
possibility be the result of human interference. 

In the present case, if Lanegan had withdrawn before Lander 



had arisen and spoken to liim, no reasoning upon earth could 
ever have cominced the Templar of the materiality of the \dsion. 
As Lanegan's restoration to life after execution had not at that 
time been spoken of, nor even suspected, Lander would have 
willingly deposed, upon the Holy Evangelists, that he had seen 
the actual ghost of the schoolmaster who had been hanged and 
quartered in Dublin a considerable time before ; his identifica- 
tion of the man's person being rendered unequivocal from the 
circumstance of liis having been formerly Lanegan's pupil. And 
I must confess, that I should myself have seen no reason to doubt 
Lander's assertions, had the man withdrawn from the chamber 
before he spoke to me — to do which, under the circumstances, it 
was by no means improbable fear might have induced him. 

Thus, one of the " best authenticated ghost stories ever 
related" has been lost to the history of supernatural occurrences. 
The circumstance, however, did not cure Da\7' Lander in the 
least of his dread of apparitions, which was excessive. 

^ly relations, whilst I was a boy, took it into their heads 
that I was a decided coward in this way. This I roundly denied, 
but freely admitted my coyness with regard to tr}dng supersti- 
tious experiments on AUhallow-eve, or other mysterious days. 
One Allhallow-eve my father proposed to haye a prayer-book, 
with a £5 bank-note in it, left on a certain tombstone in an old 
Catholic burial-ground, two or three fields' distance from the 
dwelling-house. The proposal was, that if I would go there at 
twelve o'clock at night, and bring back the book and a dead man's 
bone, many of which were scattered about the cemetery, the note 
should be mine. 

The matter was fully arranged. The night proved very dark ; 
the path was intricate, but I was accustomed to it. There were 
two or three stiles to be crossed ; and the Irish always conceive 
that if a ghost is an}^'here in the neighbourhood he invariably 
chooses a stile at which to waylay the passengers. At the 
appointed hour I set out. Having groped for some time in the 
dark, I found the book, but my hand at first refused to lift it. 
By degrees I obtained a little confidence, and I secured the book 


bareington's personal sketches 

snugly in my pocket, together witli a dead man's thigh-bone, 
which I tied up in a cloth brought with me for the purpose. 

Having reached the house in triumph, and taken a large 
tumbler of wine, I proceeded to exhibit my book, put the bank- 
note in my pocket, and, with an affectation of unconcern, untied 
my cloth, and flung my huge bone upon the supper-table. I had 
my full revenge. The women were cruelly shocked ; and all, 
una voce, set up a loud shriek. My courage now grew rampant ; 
I said, if they pleased they might leave the bone on the top of 
my bed till morning. We made merry till a late hour, when I 
retired joyously to bed ; and sleep very soon began to make still 
further amends for my terrors. 

While dreaming away most agreeably, I was suddenly aroused 
by a rustling noise for which I could not account. I sat up, and, 
upon listening, found it to proceed from the top of my bed, 
whereon something was in rapid motion. The dead man's thigh- 
bone immediately started into my recollection, and horrible ideas 
flashed across my mind. A profuse perspiration burst out at 
once on my forehead, my hair rose, the cramp seized both my 
legs, and just gathering power to call out " Murder, murder ! — 
help, help !" I buried my head under the clothes. In this situ- 
ation, I could neither hear nor see, and was besides almost suffo- 
cated : after a while, I began to think I might have been dreaming, 
and with that idea, thrusting my head fearfully out, the bone 
(for that it certainly was) sprang with a tremendous crash from 
the bed down beside me upon the floor, where it exhibited as 
many signs of life as when its owner was in existence. I first 
shook like a man in an ague, and then dropped back, nearly 
senseless, upon the pillow. 

How long I lay thus I know not ; I only remember that the 
bone still continued its movements, and now and then striking 
a chair or table, warned me of my probable fate from its justly 
enraged proprietor. Had the scene continued long, I actually 
believe I should scarce have survived it : but at last a loud laugh 
at the door clearly announced that I had been well played off 
upon by the ladies, for my abrupt display of a dead man's bone 



on a supper-table. The whole of the young folks entered my 
room in a body, confessed the prank, and quickly restored my 
senses and courage by a tumbler of buttered white wine. 

The device was simple enough : a couple of cords had been 
tied to the bone, and drawn under the door, which was at the 
bed's foot ; and by pulling these alternately, the conspirators 
kept the bone in motion, until their good-humoured joke had 
well-nigh residted in the loss of their kinsman's reason.* 

* This is an old story that may be heard over all Europe. It was familiar to 
my childhood, long before its publication here ; and I know it to be current in 
Germany, France, Italy, and Greece. 


baiipjngton's personal sketches 


My father still conceived that the military profession was best 
suited to my ardent and volatile spirit. I was myself, however, 
of a different opinion ; and fortune shortly fixed my determina- 
tion. An incident occurred, which, uniting passion, judgment, 
and ambition, led me to decide that the Bar was the only road 
to my happiness or celebrity ; and accordingly I finally resolved 
that the law should be the future occupation of my life and 

The recollection of the incident to which I have alluded ex- 
cites, even at this moment, all the sensibility and regret which 
can survive a grand climacteric, and four-and-forty years of vicissi- 
tude. I shall not dilate upon it extensively ; and, in truth, were 
it not that these personal fragments would be otherwise still 
more incomplete, I should remain altogether silent on a subject 
which revives in my mind so many painful reflections. 

My elder brother married the only daughter of Mr. Edwards, 
of Old Court, County Wicklow. The individuals of both families 
attended that marriage, which was indeed a public one. The 
bride-maid of Miss Edwards was the then admired Miss D. W. 
This lady was about my own age : her father had been a senior 
Fellow of Dublin University, and had retired on large church 
preferments. Her uncle, with whom she was at that time re- 
siding, was a very eminent barrister in the Irish capital. She 
had but one sister, and I was soon brought to think she had no 
equal whatever. 

Those who read this will perhaps anticipate a story of a 
volatile lad struck, in the midst of an inspiring ceremony, by the 
beauty of a lively and engaging female, and surrendering with- 
out resistance his boyish heart to the wild impulse of the moment. 



This supposition is, I admit, a natural one ; but it is unfounded. 
Neither beauty, nor giddy passion, nor the glare of studied at- 
tractions, ever enveloped me in their labyrinths. Nobody admired 
female loveliness more than myself ; but beauty in the abstract 
never excited within me that delirium which has so impartially 
maAe fools of kings and beggars — of heroes and cowards ; and to 
which the ^visest professors of law, physic, and divinity, have 
from time immemorial surrendered their liberty and tlieir reason. 

Eegiilarity of feature is very distinct from expression of 
countenance, which I never yet saw mere sjTiimetry successfully 
rival I thank heaven that I never was either the captive or 
the victim of "perfect beauty ;" in fact, I never loved any hand- 
some woman save one, who still lives, and I hope will do so long : 
those whom I admired most, when I was of an age to admire any, 
had no great reason to be grateful for the munificence of creating 

AVere I to describe the person of D. W., I should say that 
she had no beauty ; but, on the contrary, seemed rather to have 
been selected as a foil to set off the almost transparent delicacy 
of the bride whom she attended. Her figure was graceful, it is 
true ; but, generally speaking, I incline to think that few ladies 
would have envied her perfections. Her dark and rather deep- 
sunk, yet penetrating and animated eye, could never have recon- 
ciled their looking-glasses to the sombre and swarthy complexion 
which surrounded it ; nor the carmine of her pouting lip to the 
disproportioned extent of feature which it tinted. In fine, as I 
began, so will I conclude my personal description— she had 710 
heauty. But she seems this moment before me as in a vision. I 
see her countenance, busied in unceasing converse with her 
heart ; — now illuminated by brilliant wit,* now softened down 
by sense and sensibility — the wild spirit of the former changing 
like magic into the steadier movements of the latter ; — the serious 

* A countenance illuminated by brilliaut wit, is a truly romantic picture 
which may well defy the powers of a Guido, but presents no difficulties to the 
scientific and glowing vocabulary of the novelist. Sir Jonah was an adept in this 
copious dialect. 


baerington's peesonal sketches 

glance silently commanding restraint and caution, whilst the 
counteracting smile even at the same moment set caution at de- 
fiance. But upon this subject I shall desist, and only remark 
further, that before I was aware of the commencement of its 
passion, my whole heart was hers ! 

D. W. was at that time the fashion in society ; many ad- 
mired, but I know of none who loved her save myself, and it 
must have been through some attractive congeniality of mind 
that our attachment became mutual. 

It will doubtless appear unaccountable to many, whence the 
spell arose by virtue of which I was thus bound to a female, 
from whom every personal attribute seems to have been with- 
held by N'atpre. But I am unable to solve the enigma. I once 
ventured myself to ask D. W. if she could tell me why I loved 
her ? She answered by returning the question ; and hence, neither 
of us being able to give an explicit reason, we mutually agreed 
that the query was unanswerable. 

There are four short words in the French language which 
have a power of expressing what in English is inexplicable — 
" Je ne sais quoiJ' I shall endeavour to characterise the " Je ne 
sais quoi," as meaning a species of indefinable grace which gives 
despotic power to a female. When we praise in detail the 
abstract beauties or merits of a woman, each of them may form 
matter for argument, or subject for the exercise of various tastes ; 
but of the " Je ne sais quoi " there is no specification, and upon 
it there can be no reasoning. It is that fascinating enigma 
which expresses all without expressing anything; that mys- 
terious source of attraction which we can neither discover nor 
account for ; and which nor beauty, nor wit, nor education, nor 
anything, in short, but nature, ever can create. 

D. W. was the fashion ; but she depended solely, as to 
fortune, on her father and her uncle. I was the third son of a 
largely estated, but not prudent family, and was entitled to a 
younger child's portion in addition to some exclusive property ; 
but I had passed twenty-one, and had not even fixed on a pro- 
fession — therefore, the only probable result of our attachment 



seemed to be misery and disappointment. Notwithstanding, 
when in the same neighbourhood, we met — when separate, we 
corresponded ; but her good sense at length perceived that some 
end must be put to this state of clandestine intercourse, from 
which, although equally condemning it, we had not been able to 
abstain. Her father died, and she became entitled to a third of 
his estate and effects ; but this accession was insufficient to 
justify the accomplishment of our union. I saw, and with a 
half-broken heart acquiesced in, her view of its impossibility 
until I should have acquired some productive profession. She 
suggested that there was no other course but the Bar, which 
might conciliate her uncle. The hint was sufficient, and we 
then agreed to have a ceremony of betrothal performed, and to 
separate the next moment, never to meet again until fortune, if 
ever so disposed, should smile upon us. 

The ceremony was accordingly performed by a Mr. Tay, and 
immediately afterwards I went on board a packet for England, 
determined, if it were possible, to succeed in a profession which 
held out a reward so essential to my happiness. 

I did succeed at the Bar ; but alas ! she for whose sake my 
toil was pleasure had ceased to exist. I never saw her more ! 
Her only sister still lives in Merrion Square, Dublin, and in her 
has centered all the property of both the father and uncle. She 
is the wife of one of my warmest friends, a King's Counsel. 

I hasten to quit a subject to me so distressing. Some very 
peculiar circumstances attended, as I learned, the death of that 
most excellent of women ; but a recital of these would only in- 
crease the impression which I fear I have already given grounds 
for, that I am deeply superstitious. However, I have not con- 
cealed so important an incident of my life hitherto not published, 
and I have done. 


barrington's personal sketches 


On my return to Dublin from London, before I could suit 
myself with a residence to my satisfaction, I lodged at the house 
of Mr. Kyle, in Frederick Street, uncle to the present provost of 
Dublin University. Mrs. Kyle was a remarkably plain woman, 
of the most curious figure, being round as a ball ; but she was 
as good as she was ordinary. This worthy creature, who was a 
gentlev/oman by birth, had married Kyle, who, though of good 
family, had been a trooper. She had lived many years, as com- 
panion, with my grandmother, and in fact regarded me as if T 
had been her own child. 

In her abode so many human curiosities were collected, and so 
many anecdotes occurred, that, even at this distance of time, the 
recollection oi it amuses me. Those who lodged in the house 
dined in company : the table was most plentifully served, and the 
party generally comprised from eight to ten select persons. I 
will endeavour to sketch the leading members of the society 
there at the period of which I speak ; and first on the list I will 
place the late Lord Mountmorris, of celebrated memory. He 
was a very clever and well-informed, but eccentric man ; one of 
the most ostentatious and at the same time parsimonious beings 
in the world. He considered himself by far the greatest orator 
and politician in Eurojoe ; and it was he who sent a florid speech, 
which he intended to have spoken in the Irish House of Lords, 
to the press. The debate on which it was to be spoken did not 
ensue ; but his lordship having neglected to countermand the 
publication, his studied harangue appeared next day in the 
Dublin newspapers with all the supposititious cheerings, etc., duly 
interposed ! I believe a similar faux pas has been committed by 
some English legislator.* 

* Mr, Shiel was prevented delivering the speech with which he had furnished 



His lordship, at the period in question, was patronising what 
is commonly ycleped a Led Captain — one Lieutenant Ham or 
Gam Johnson of the Eoyal Navy, brother to the two judges, and 
the attorney, of whom I shall speak hereafter. Without being 
absolutely disgusting. Lieutenant Jolmsonwas certainly the ugliest 
man in Christendom. It was said of him that he need never 
fire a shot, since his countenance was sufficient to frighten the 
bravest enemy. Yet the man was civil and mild, and had 
withal a much liigher character as an officer than his captain in 
the " Artois " frigate. Lord Charles Fitzgerald, who, it was at 
that time thought, prefen-ed a sound nap to a hard battle. 

Next in the company came Sir John O'Flalierty, Bart., and 
Lady O'Flaherty his sposa. He was a plain, agreeable country 
gentleman. Her Ladyship was to the full as plain, but not 
quite so agreeable. However, it was (as Mrs. Kyle said) respect- 
able, at a boarding-house, to hear — "Sir John O'Flaherty's 
health !" — and " Lady O'Flaherty's health !" drunk or hobnobbed 
across the table. They formed, indeed, excellent make-weights 
to cram in between Lord Mountmorris and the canaille. 

Lady Barry, widow of the late Sir Nathaniel Barry, Bart., 
and mother of Su- Edward, who was also an occasional guest, 
follows in my catalogue, and was as valuable a curiosity as any 
of the set. 

Mrs. AATieeler, the grandmother of Sir Richard Jonah Denny 
Wheeler Cuffe, gave up her whole attention to lap-dogs. Lady 
Barry's only daughter, afterwards the unfortunate Mrs. Baldwin, 
was also of the party. Though this young female had not a 
beautiful face, it was yet peculiarly pleasing, and she certainly 
possessed one of the finest figures — tall, slender in its proportions, 
and exquisitely graceful — I had ever seen. Her father. Sir 
Nathaniel Barry, many years the principal physician of Dublin, 
adored his daughter, and had spared no pains or expense on her 
education. She profited by all the instruction she received, 
and was one of the most accomplished young women of her day. 

the newspapers on the eve of his appearance at the great Kent meeting, and which 
was duly published, much to his mortification. 
VOL. I. F 


barrington's personal sketches 

But unfortunately he had introduced her to the practice of 
one very objectionable accomplishment, — calculated rather to 
give unbounded latitude to, than check, the light and dangerous 
particles of a volatile and thoughtless disposition. He was him- 
self enthusiastically fond of theatricals, and had fitted u]3 a 
theatre in the upper storey of his own house. There the youthful 
mind of his daughter was initiated into all the schemes and 
deceptions of lovers and of libertines ! At sixteen, with all the 
warmth of a sensitive constitution, she was taught to personify 
the vices, affect the passions, and assume the frivolities, of her 
giddy sex ! 

Thus, through the folly or vanity of her father, she was led to 
represent by turns the flirt, the jilt, the silly wife, the capricious 
mistress, and the frail maiden, — before her understanding had 
arrived at sufficient maturity, or his more serious instructions 
had made sufficient impression, to enable her to resist evil 
temptation. She saw the world's pleasures dancing gaily before 
her, and pursued the vision — until her mimicry, at length, 
became nature, and her personification identity. After two or 
three years, during which this mistaken course was pursued, 
Sir Nathaniel died, leaving his daughter in possession of all the 
powers of attraction without the guard of prudence. 

The misfortunes which ensued should therefore be attributed 
rather to the folly of the parent than to the propensities of the 
child. Her heart once sunk into the vortex of thoughtless 
variety and folly, her mother was unable to restrain its down-" 
ward progress ; and as to her weak dissipated brother. Sir 
Edward, I have myself seen him, late at night, require her to 
come from her chamber to sing, or play, or spout, for the amuse- 
ment of his inebriated companions ; — conduct which the mother 
had not sufficient sense or resolution to control. However, 
good fortune still gave Miss Barry a fair chance of rescuing her- 
self, and securing complete comfort and high respectability. 
She married well, being united to Colonel Baldwin, a gentleman 
of character and fortune ; but alas ! that delicacy of mind which 
is the best guardian of female conduct had been irrecoverably 



lost by her pernicious education, and in a few years she sank 
beyond the possibility of regaining her station in society. 

Long after the period of her unhappy fall, I saw Mrs. Bald- 
^vin at the house of a friend of mine, into which she had been 
received, under an assumed name, as governess. This effort, on 
her part, could not be blamed : on the contrary, it was most 
commendable ; and it would have been both cruel and unjust, 
by discovering her, to have thwarted it. Though many years 
had elapsed, and her person had meanwhile undergone total 
alteration, her size being doubled, and her features growTi coarse 
and common, I instantly recognised her as one whom I had 
known long before, but whose name I could not recollect. I had 
tact enough to perceive that she courted concealment, and, in 
consequence, I carefully abstained from any pointed observ^ation. 
The mother of the children subsequently told me that her gover- 
ness was an admirable musician, and took me to the door of her 
room to hear her play. She was sitting alone, at the piano. I 
listened with an anxiety I cannot describe, or indeed scarcely 
account for. She sang not with superiority, but in plaintive 
tones, which I was confident I had heard before, yet could not 
remember where, when an air which, from a veiy peculiar cause, 
had in early days impressed itself iiuhlihly on my memory, 
brought Miss BaiTy at once to my recollection. Her image 
swam into my mind as she appeared when youth, grace, inno- 
cence, and accomplishments, made her a just subject for general 
admiration, and had particularly attracted a friend of mine, Mr. 
Vicars, the brother of Mrs. Peter Latouche, who loved her to 

Her secret I kept inviolably ; but some person, I believe, 
was afterwards less considerate, and she was discovered. Had I 
supposed it possible she could have then enfeebled the morals 
or injured the habits of my friend's children, I should myself 
have privately given her a liint to change her situation ; — but I 
never should have hetmyecl the poor creature. However, I con- 
ceived her at that time to be trustworthy in the execution of the 
duties she had undertaken. She had suffered amply. Her own 


bareington's personal sketches 

daughter resided with her, and scarcely ever left her side. I then 
believed, nor have I now any reason to question the solidity of 
my judgment, that she was on the direct road to prudence and 
good conduct. 

I have related these events, as I confess myself to be an 
avowed enemy to a dramatic education. That sexual familiarity 
which is indispensable upon the stage, undermines, and is, in my 
opinion, utterly inconsistent with, the delicacy of sentiment, the 
refinement of thought, and reserve of action, which constitute at 
once the surest guards and the most precious ornaments of female 
character. Strong minds and discriminating understandings 
may occasionally escape ; but, what a vast majority of Thalia's 
daughters fall victims to the practices of their own calling !* 

But let us return to Kyle's boarding-house. The different 
pursuits adopted by these curious members of the society assem- 
bled there were to me subjects of constant entertainment. I 
stood well with all parties. 

One day, after dinner. Lord Mountmorris seemed rather less 
communicative than usual, but not less cheerful. He took out 
his watch ; made a speech, as customary ; drank his tip;ple, as 
he denominated the brandy and water ; but seemed rather im- 
patient. At length a loud rap announced somebody of conse- 
quence, and the Marquis of Ely was named. 

Lord Mountmorris rose with his usual ceremony, made a very 
low bow to the company, looked again at his watch, repeated 
his conge, and made his exit. He entered the coach where 
Lord Ely was waiting, and away they drove. Kyle instantly 
decided that a duel was in agitation, and turned pale at the 
dread of losing so good a lodger. Lieutenant Gam Johnson was 
of the same opinion, and equally distressed by the fear of losing 
his Lordship's interest for a frigate. Each snatched up his beaver, 
and, with the utmost expedition, pursued the coach. I was also 
rather desirous to see the fun, as Gam, though with a sigh, 
called it ; and made the best of my way after the two mourners, 

* There may be different opinions upon tliis subject, but I am not at liberty 
to modify the virtuous sentiments of our author, much less to discuss them. 



not, however, hurrying myself so much : as, wliilst they kept 
the coach in view, I was contented with keeping them within 
sight. Our pursuit exceeded a mile ; when, in the distance, I 
perceived that the coach had stopped at Donnybrook-fair green, 
where, on every eighth of June, many an eye seems to mourn 
for the broken skull that had protected it from expulsion. I 
took my time, as I was now sure of my game, and had just 
reached the field when I heard the firing. I then ran behind a 
large tree, to obseiwe further. 

Gam and Kyle had flown towards the spot, and nearly 
tumbled over my Lord, who had received a bullet from the Hon. 
Francis Hely Hutchinson, late collector for Dublin, on the right 
side, directly under his Lordship's pistol-arm. The peer had 
staggered and measured his length on the greensward, and I 
certainly thought it was all over with hun. I stood snugly all 
the while behind my tree, not wishing to have anything to do at 
the coroner's inquest, which I considered inevitable. To my 
astonishment, however, I saw my Lord arise ! and, after some 
colloquy, the combatants bowed to each other and separated ; 
my Lord got back to his coach, with aid, and reached Frederick 
Street, if not in quite as good health, certainly with as high a 
character for bravery, as when he had left it. In fact, never did 
any person enjoy a wound more sincerely ! He kept his cham- 
ber a month, and was inconceivably gratified by the number of 
inquu'ies daily made respecting his health, boasting ever after of 
the profusion of friends who thus proved their solicitude. His 
answer from first to last was — No hetter. To speak truth, one- 
half of the querists were sent in jest by those whom his singu- 
larity diverted. 


barrington's personal sketches 


It is singular enough, but at the same time true, that female 
beauty has of late years kept pace in improvement with modern 
accomplishments.. She who in the early part of my life would 
have been accounted a perfect beauty, — whose touch upon a 
harpsichord or spinnet, accompanied by a simple air sung with 
what they then called "judgment" (in tune), would have con- 
stituted her at once a Venus and a Siren, — would now be passed 
by merely as " a pretty girl, but such a confounded tore with her 
music !" In fact, women fifty years since, and even much later, 
not being, generally speaking, thrust into society till they had 
arrived at the age of maturity, were more respected, more be- 
loved, and more sedulously attended, than in these days, when 
the men seem to have usurped the ladies' corsets, to affect their 
voices, practise their gait, imitate their small-talk, and, in sur- 
touts and trowsers, hustle ladies off the footpaths, to save their 
own dog-skins from humidity. 

This degradation of both sexes has arisen from various 
causes. Beauty is apparently become less rare, accomplishments 
more common, dress less distinguished, dignity worse preserved, 
and decorum less attended to, than in former times. It is a great 
mistake in women not to recollect their own importance, and 
keep up that just medium between reserve and familiarity which 
constitutes the best criterion whereby to appreciate the manners 
of a gentlewoman. But women are too apt to run into extremes 
in everything, and overlook the fact, that neither personal 
beauty nor drawing-room display is calculated to form per- 
manent attractions, even to the most adoring lover. The hreah- 
fast-taUe in the morning, and fireside in the evening, must be 
the ultimate touchstones of connubial comfort ; and this is a 



maxim wliich any woman who intends to marry should never 
lose sight of. 

To such lengths did respect for the sex extend, and so strong 
was the impression that men were bound to protect it even from 
accidental offence, that I remember, if any gentleman presumed 
to pass between a lady and the wall in walking the streets of 
Dublin, he was considered as offering a personal affront to her 
escort ; and if the parties wore swords (as was then customary), 
it is probable the first salutation to the offender would be — 
" Draw, sir!" However, such affairs usually ended in an apology 
to the lady for inadvertence * 

But if a man ventured to intrude into the boxes of the theatre 
in his surtout, or boots, or with his hat on, it was regarded as a 
general insult to every lady present, and he had little chance of 
escaping without a shot or a thrust before the following night. 
Every gentleman then wore, in the evening, a sword, a queue, and 
a three-cocked hat — appointments rather too fierce-looking for the 
modem dandy ! The morning dress consisted of what was then 
called a French frock, a waistcoat bordered with lace, and a 
couteau de cJiasse, with a short, ciu'ved, broad blade ; the handle 
of green ivory, with a lion's head in silver or gilt, at the end ; 
and a treble chain dangling loose from its mouth, terminating at 
an ornamented cross or guard, which surmounted the scabbard. 
Such was the Irish costimie : but although either the male or 
female attire of that day might now appear rather grotesque, yet 
people of fashion had then the exclusive dress and air of such, 
and gentlewomen ran no risk of being copied in garb or manner 
by their pretty waiting-maids — now called "young persons !"f 

The Irish court at that period was kept up with great state, 
and hence the parties who frequented it were more select. I 
recollect when the wives and daughters of the attorneys, who 
now, I beheve, are the general occupiers of the red benches, were 

* Without any of this rhodomontade, gentlemen were never more attentive 
and respectful to the fair sex than at present. 

t There are some remarkable signs of progress in this direction. Milliners, 
advertising for improving apprentices," call them "young ladies." Have they 
the heralds' sanction for this nomenclature ? 


baerington's peesonal sketches 

never admitted to the vice-regal drawing-rooms. How far the 
present growing system of equality in appearance amongst dif- 
ferent ranks will eventually benefit or injure society in general, 
is for casuists, not for me, to determine. I must, however, take 
occasion to own myself an admirer, and, whenever it is proper, 
a zealous contender, for distinction of ranks ; and to state my 
decided opinion that nothing but superior talents, learning, 
military reputation, or some other quality which raises men by 
general assent, should be permitted to amalgamate society * 

It is an observation I have always made, although it may be 
perhaps considered a frivolous one, that dress has a moral effect 
upon the conduct of mankind. Let any gentleman find himself 
with dirty boots, old surtout, soiled neckcloth, and a general negli- 
gence of dress, he will, in all probability find a corresponding dispo- 
sition to negligence of address. He may, en deshahille, curse and 
swear, and speak roughly and thinh roughly ; but put the same man 
into full dress — powder him well — clap a sword by his side, 
give him an evening coat, breeches, and silk stockings — and he 
will feel himself quite another person ! To use the language of 
the blackguard would then be out of character : he will talk 
smoothly, affect politeness if he has it not, pique himself upon 
his good manners, and respect the women ; nor will the spell 
subside until, returning home, the old rohe de chambre, or its sub- 
stitute surtout, with other slovenly appendages, makes him lose 
again his brief consciousness of being a gentleman.t 

Some women mistake the very nature and purposes of dress : 
glaring abroad, they are slatterns at home. The husband detests 
in his sposa what he is too apt to practise himself ; he rates a 
dirty wife,J she retorts upon a ruffianly husband, and each of 

* I suppose he means, to fill up the interstices between the globules "of 
blood ; " or to mix freely among their betters. It is a good principle of aristocracy 
to admit merit alone to its familiarity, and it should labour hard to be worthy of 
the new acquaintance. 

t What would Brummell think of this ? 

t A dirty wife would now be considered a curiosity, if not a treasure. After 
all, it is not the ladies who are extravagant, but the prices. The duck of a bonnet 
is indispensable ; its cost indisputable. 



them detests the other for neglect which neither will take the 
trouble of avoiding. 

Three ladies, about the period of my return from London, 
became very conspicuous for their beauty, though extremely dif- 
ferent in all points, both of appearance and manners. They stOl 
live : — two of them I greatly admired, not for beauty alone, but 
for an address the most captivating ; and one of them, especially, 
for the kindest heart and the soundest sense, when she gave it 
fair play, that I have ever met ^^'ith amongst females. 

In admitting my great preference to this indi\ddual lady, I 
may, perhaps, by those who know her, be accused of partiality, 
less to herself than to a family ; — be it so ; she is the wife of my 
friend, and I esteem her for his sake ; but she is also an excellent 
woman, and I esteem her for her own. 

Another of the parties alluded to. Lady ^1 , is a gentle- 
woman of liigh birth, and was then, though not quite a beauty, 
in all points attractive. She passed her spring in misfortune, 
her summer in misery, her autumn without happiness ! I hope 
the \Ninter of her days is spent amidst every comfoi-t. Of the 
third lady I have not yet spoken. Though far inferior to both 
the former, she has succeeded better in life than either ; and 
beginning the world without any pretensions beyond mediocrity, 
is likely to end her days in ease and more than ordinary respec- 

My first knowledge of Lady M arose from a circimistance 

which was to me of singular professional advantage ; and, as it 
forms a curious anecdote respecting myself, I will proceed to 
relate it. 

At the assizes of Wexford, whilst I was but young at the 

bar, I received a brief in a cause of Sir R , Bart,, 

against a Mr. H . On perusal, I found it was an action 

brought by the baronet against the latter gentleman respecting 

* The mediocrities, male and female, possess an assurance and activity that 
surmount all obstacles. Mediocrity would be a merciful dispensation of Provi- 
dence, if it fostered a gi-eat deal of patient humility and amiable resignation. If 
rewards were reserved to talent, there would be more daily suicides than births. 
Genius cannot envy the luck that obviates such calamities. 


barrington's personal sketches 

his lady, and that I was retained as advocate for the lady's 
honour. It was my "first appearance" in that town. But, alas! 
I had a senior in the business, and therefore was without oppor- 
tunity of displaying my abilities. The ill-fated Bagenal Harvey* 
was that senior counsel, and he had prepared himseK to make 
some exhibition in a cause of so much and such universal excite- 
ment. I felt dispirited, and would willingly have given up 
twenty fees in order to possess his opportunity. 

The cause proceeded before Judge Kelly ; the evidence was 
finished, and the proper time for the defence had arrived — every- 
thing as to the lady was at stake. Bagenal Harvey had gone 
out to take fresh air, and probably to read over some notes, or 
con some florid sentences and quotations with which he intended 
to interlard his elocution. At the moment the evidence closed, 
the Judge desired me to proceed. I replied that Mr. Harvey, 
my senior, would return into court directly. 

Judge Kelly, who was my friend, and clearly saw my wish, 
said he would not delay public business one minute for anybody. 
I began to state her ladyship's case. I forgot poor Bagenal 
Harvey, and was just getting into the marrow and pathos of my 
case, when the crier shouted out, " Clear the way for Counsellor 
Harvey!" I instantly stopped, and begged his pardon, adding, 
that the Judge had said the public time could wait for nobody ! 

Bagenal became irritated as much as he was susceptible of 
being, and whispered me that he considered it as a personal 
insult ; whilst old Judge Kelly gravely said, — " Go on, Mr. Bar- 
rington ; go on. We can have no speeches by dividends. Go 
on, sir !" So on I went ; and I believe (because everybody told 
me so) that my impromptu speech was entirely successful. I 
discredited the witnesses by ridicule, destroyed all sympathy 
with the husband, and interested everybody for the wife. In 

* An unfortunate friend of mine, wlio was afterwards hanged and his head 
stuck over the door of the same court-house. — (Author's note.) [He was condemned 
for the part he took in the rebellion of 1798. He commanded 20,000 men at the 
battle of New Ross. He was a Protestant gentleman of good estate and family. — 



short, I got the judge and jury into good humour, and obtained 
a verdict. 

Some time afterwards a reconciliation took place between the 
parties, so far that her ladyship consented to live with him 
again ; influenced much, I rather think, by having suffered great 
inconvenience, if not distress, from want of regularity in the 
receipt of her separate maintenance of £700 per annum. I had 
the pleasure of meeting her frequently at the Lady Lieutenant's 

The conclusion of the renewed intercourse is too curious to 

be omitted. Sir E had taken a house in the city of Dublin, 

and it was thought possible that he and his wife might, at any- 
rate, pass some time under the same roof, but fate decided other- 

Sir R was literally insane on all political subjects, his 

imagination being occupied night and day with nothing but 
Papists, Jesuits, and rebels. Once, in the dead of the night, his 
lady was awakened by a sense of positive suffocation, and, rousing 
herself, found that Sir R was in the very act of strangling her. 

Tliis crazy Orangeman had in his dream fancied that he was 
contesting ^\ith a rebel, whom he had better choke than suffer to 

escape, and poor Lady M was nearly sacrificed to liis excess 

of loyalty. In her robe de chamhre and slippers she contrived to 
get out of the house, and never more ventured to return. 

Wliilst Su' R was High Sheriff for the coimty of Water- 
ford, an old man was sentenced to be whipped at the cart's tail 
for some political offence, when, the executioner not being in 
readiness, the High Sheriff, a baronet and Member of Parliament, 
took up the cat-o'-nine-tails, ordered the cart to move on slowl}^, 
and operated himself mth admirable expertness, but much 
greater severity than the hangman would have used, t 

Lady M was, in her own right, entitled to a fortune of 

* I fear this story is a venture. 

t I have heard this account contradicted in Waterford by those who knew and 
hated Musgrave well. But he was capable of worse deeds than flogging a political 


barrington's personal sketches 

£15,000, to be paid on her marriage. Her father, a gentleman 
of rank and estate, had by some mismanagement become ex- 
tremely embarrassed. Sir E M , a man of family, but 

whose fortune was not large, cast his eye on her beauty — not 
totally overlooMng her property. I have had the affecting 
narrative of her ladyship's wrongs and misfortunes related to me 
by herself in broken fragments and at several times. 

" I was not aware (said she) what caused my dear father's 
obvious unhappiness, and often was I surprised at the pertinacity 
with which he pressed the Baronet upon my consideration. I 
rejected him over and over again ; still his suit was renewed, 
still my father appeared more anxious on his behalf, whilst my 
mother seconded their wishes. My aversion increased ; yet Sir 

E M 's assiduities were redoubled with his repulses ; 

and at length I contemplated the leaving my father's house, if 
I were longer persecuted by these addresses. 

" But I discovered the whole of my father's more than press- 
ing embarrassments ; and understood that Sir E M 

had agreed to give up to him a considerable portion of my 
fortune if our marriage was effected. This shock to such a dis- 
position as mine was cruel ; and the dilemma was distracting, 
since it involved my father's ruin — or my own ! 

" Often, as we sat at our family repasts, have I perceived 
that dear parent lay down the fork he was conveying to his lips, 
and turn away to conceal the agitation of mind which might 
have betrayed to us his distresses. 

" Gradually, I found that filial affection was taking the 
strongest hold of me. I thought I could endure unhappiness 
myself, but I could not bear to see my father miserable. I 
weighed the consequences, and reasoned so far as I possessed the 
faculty of reasoning. I saw his ruin or my own was inevitable ! 

" The struggle was, indeed, sharp — it was long — it was very 
painful : but at length filial piety prevailed over self ; and I de- 
termined upon my own sacrifice. I communicated to my father 

my decision to admit the addresses of Sir E M ; but, at 

the same moment, I felt an indescribable change of character com- 



mence, which, from that sad period, has more or less affected 
every action of my life. I felt a sort of harsh sensation arise 
^^'ithin my mind, and operate upon my temper, to which they 
had previously been strangers. My spirits flagged, my pursuits 
grew insipid, and I perceived that the ice of indifference was 
chilling all the sensibility of my nature. 

"From the moment of my assent, my father's disposition 
seemed to have undergone almost as radical a change as my own. 
He became once more cheerful, and I had at least the gratifica- 
tion of reflecting that, if I were myself lost, I had saved a 
parent ! But I must remark that it was not so as to my mother 
— who, indeed, had never been kind to me. 

" In due time the settlements were prepared, and my fortune, 
I learn, secretly divided. Tlie ceremony was about to be per- 
formed, and Sir E !M at that very hour appeared to me 

to be the most disagreeable of mankind. There was a sort of un- 
couth civility — an abrupt, fiery, coarse expression, even in his 
most conciliating manners, which seemed to set all feelings of 
respect or cordiality at defiance. As to love, he was not suscep- 
tible of the passion, whilst I was created to enjoy its tenderest 
blessings. He was half-mad by nature ; — I had become so from 
miseiy ! and in this state of mind we met to be united at the 
altar ! I was determined, however, that he should learn by an- 
ticipation what he had to expect from me as a wife. ' Sir- R 

M (said I to liim), I am resolved to give you the last proof 

you will ever receive of my candour. I accept you, not only as 
a husband whom I never can love, and never will obey, but 
whom I absolutely detest! — now marry me at your peril and 
take the consequences ! He laughed convulsively, took me by 
the hand, and having led me into the next room, that ceremony 
was performed to which I should have thought a sentence of 
death preferable. The moment we were united, I retired to 
my chamber, where tears flowing in torrents cooled my heated 
feelings. My purpose in marrying was effected ; I therefore de- 
termined that, if possible, I never would live an hour in his society. 

" Our residence together, of course, was short, and at twenty- 


barrington's personal sketches 

one I was thrown upon the world to avoid my husband's society. 
Being possessed of sufficient means, I travelled ; and thus for 
the fourteen years maintained our separation. On a late 
occasion you were my counsel, and from you nothing has been 
concealed. You did me more than justice — you have defeated 
him, and preserved me ! " 




I ^\^LL now proceed to lay before the reader a brief but more 
general sketch of the state of Irish society at the period of my 
youth, reminding him of the principle which I have before as- 
sumed — namely, that of considering anecdotes, bon-mots, and 
such-like, valuable only as they tend to exemplify interesting 
facts relative to liistory or manners : many such I have inserted 
in these fragments ; and as I have been careful throughout to 
avoid mere inventions, my reader need not, by any means, 
reserve their perusal for the study of his travelling-carriage. 

MLss Edgeworth, in her admirable sketch of Castle Rackreiit, 
gives a faithful picture of the Irish character under the circum- 
stances which she has selected ; and the account that I am about 
to give may sers^e as a kind of supplement to that little work, as 
well as an elucidation of the habits and manners of Irish 
country society about the period Miss Edgeworth alludes to, and 
somewhat later. 

In those days, then, the common people ideally separated the 
gentry of the country into three classes, and treated each class 
according to the relative degree of respect to which they con- 
sidered it was entitled. 

They generally di\'ided them thus : — 

1. Half --mounted gentlemen. 

2. Gentlemen every inch of them. 

3. Gentlemen to the hackhone. 

The first-named class formed the only species of independent 
yeomanr}^ then existing in Ireland. . They were the descendants 
of the small grantees of Queen Elizabeth, Cromwell, and King 
William ; possessed about 200 acres of laud each, in fee-farm, 
from the Crown ; and were occasionally admitted into the society 


barrington's personal sketches 

of gentlemen — particularly hunters — living at other times 
amongst each other, with an intermixture of their own servants, 
with whom they were always on terms of intimacy. They gene- 
rally had good clever horses, which could leap over anything, but 
had never felt the trimming-scissors or currycomb. The riders 
commonly wore buckskin breeches, and boots well greased 
(blacking was never used in the country), and carried large thong 
whips heavily loaded with lead at the butt-end, so that they were 
always prepared either to horsewhip a man or knock his brains out, 
as circumstances might dictate. These half-mounted gentlemen 
exercised the hereditary authority of keeping the ground clear 
at horse-races, hurlings, and all public meetings (as the soldiers 
keep the lines at a review). Their business was to ride round the 
inside of the ground, which they generally did with becoming 
spirit, trampling over some, knocking down others, and slashing 
everybody who encroached on the proper limits. Bones being 
but very seldom broken, and skulls still seldomer fractured, every- 
body approved of their exertions, because all the bystanders 
gained therefrom a full view of the sport which was going 

The second class, or gentlemen every inch of them, were of 
excellent old families, whose finances were not in so good order 
as they might have been, but who were popular amongst all 
ranks. They were far above the first degree, somewhat inferior 
to the third ; but had great influence, were much beloved, and 
carried more sway at popular elections and general county meet- 
ings than the other two classes put together. 

The third class, or gentlemen to the hachlone, were of the 
oldest families and settlers, universally respected, and idolised by 
the peasantry, although they also were generally a little out at 
elbows. Their word was law ; their nod would have immediately 
collected an army of cottagers, or colliers, or whatever the popu- 
lation was composed of. Men, women, and children, were always 
ready and willing to execute anything " the squire " required, 
without the slightest consideration as to either its danger or 



A curious circumstance perhaps rendered my family peculiarly 
popular. The common people had conceived the notion that the 
Lord of Cullenaghmore had a right to save a man's life every 
summer assizes at Maryborough ; and it did frequently so happen, 
within my recollection, that my father's intercession in favour of 
some poor deluded creatures, when the A\Tiite Boy system was 
in acti\'ity, was kindly attended to by the Government; and, 
certainly, besides this number, many others of his tenants owed 
their lives to similar interference.* 

I recollect of ^Ir. Tom Flinter of Timahoe, one of the first- 
class gentlemen, who had speculated in cows and sheep, and 
evei'j'thing he could buy up, till his establishment was reduced 
to one blunt faithful fellow, Dick Henesey, who stuck to him 
throughout all his vicissitudes. Flinter had once on a time got 
a trifle of money, which was burning in his greasy pocket, and 
he wanted to expend it at a neighbouring fair ! where his whole 
history, as well as the history of every man of his half-mounted 
contemporaries, was told in a few verses,"f* by a fellow called Xed 

* It should be remembered tliat at this time several minor breaches of honesty 
were punishable ^\•ith death. 

f They were considered as a standing joke for many years in that part of the 
country, and ran as follows: — 

Dialogue between Tom Flinter and his man. 

Tom Flinter. Dick ! said he ; 

Dick Henesey. What ? said he ; 

Tom Flinter. Fetch me my hat : says he ; 

For I will go, says he ; 

To Timahoe, says he ; 

To buy the fair, says he ; 

And all that's there, says he. 
Dick Henesey. Arrah ! pay what you owe ! said he ; 

And then you may go, says he ; 

To Timahoe, says he ; 

To buy the fair, says he ; 
■ And all that's there, says he. 
Tom Flinter. Well ! by this and by that ! said he ; 

Dick ! hang up my hat ! says he. — {Author s note.) 

VOL. I. 

(Xot a bad lyric, as things go ! — Ed.) 


barkington's personal sketches 

the dog-stealer, but who was also a great poet, and resided in the 

In travelling through Ireland, a stranger is very frequently 
puzzled by the singular ways, and especially by the idiomatic 
equivocation, characteristic of every Irish peasant. Some years 
back, more particularly, these men were certainly originals — 
quite unlike any other people whatever. Many an hour of curi- 
ous entertainment has been afforded me by their eccentricities ; 
yet, though always fond of prying into the remote sources of 
these national peculiarities, I must frankly confess that, with all 
my pains, I never was able to develop half of them, except by 
one sweeping observation — namely, that the brains and tongues 
of the Irish are somehow differently formed or furnished from 
those of other people.* 

One general hint which I beg to impress upon all travellers 
in Hibernia, is the following : — that if they show a disposition 
towards kindness, together with a moderate familiarity, and affect 
to be inquisitive, whether so or not, the Irish peasant will outdo 
them tenfold in every one of these dispositions. But if a man 
is haughty and overbearing, he had better take care of himself. 

I have often heard it remarked and complained of by travellers 
and strangers, that they never could get a true answer from any 
Irish peasant as to distances, when on a journey. For many 
years I myself thought it most unaccountable. If you meet a 
peasant on your journey, and ask him how far, for instance, to 
Ballinrobe ? he will probably say it is, " three sliort miles." You 
travel on, and are informed by the next peasant you meet, " that 
it is fim long miles." On you go, and the next will tell " your 
honour" it is "four miles, or about that same." The fourth will 
swear " if your honour stops at three miles, you'll never get 
there !" But, on pointing to a town just before you, and inquir- 
ing what place that is, he replies, 

* This, to my knowledge, and I have had as good means of knowing as Sir 
Jonah had, is a vague and erroneous representation of the intellectual features of 
the Irish peasantry. Inquisitiveness, shrewdness, promptitude, and wonderful 
perspicacity, have long been their most prominent characteristics. But I believe 
the author had but few opportunities of studying the pure Celt. 



" Oh I plaze your honour, that's Ballinrobe, sure enough !" 

" Why, you said it was more than three miles off." 

" Oh yes ! to be sure and sartain, that's from my own cabin, 
plaze yoirr honour. We're no scholards in this country. Arrah ! 
how can we tell any distance, plaze yoiu- honour, but from our 
own little cabins? Xobody but the schooLmaster knows that, 
plaze your honour."* 

Tims is the mystery unravelled. When you ask any peasant 
the distance of the place you require, he never computes it from 
where you theii are, but from his own cabin ; so that, if you asked 
twenty, in all probability you would have as many different 
answers, and not one of them connect. But it is to be observed, 
that frequently you can get no reply at all, unless you under- 
stand Irish. 

In parts of Kerry and ^layo, however, I have met with pea- 
sants who speak Latin not badly.i" On the election of Sir John 
Brown for the County of Mayo, Counsellor Thomas ^loore and 
I went down as his counsel. Tlie weather was desperately 
severe. At a soHtary inn, where we were obHged to stop for 
horses, we requested dinner ; upon which the waiter laid a cloth 
that certainly exhibited every species of dirt ever invented. We 
caUed, and remonstrating with him, ordered a clean cloth. He 
was a low fat fellow, with a countenance perfectly immovable, 
and seeming to have scarcely a smgle muscle in it. He nodded, 
and on our return to the room, wliich we had quitted during the 
inters'al, we found, instead of a clean cloth, that he had only 
folded up the filthy one into the thickness of a cushion. We 
now scolded away in good earnest. He looked at us with the 
greatest sang-froid, and said sententiously, " Xcmo me imjjune 

He kept his word. ^Tien we had proceeded about four 

* Many a caricature of the Celts, under the name of an Irish Tale, has been 
drawn on this outrageous model ; and many a drunken dolt has been thought a 
genius for gathering together the slang of Dublin, Cork, and Belfast, and stufiing 
it into the vocal cavity of Paddy. 

t "When a youngster I often fell in with peasants who were familiar with 
Greek and Roman classics. But such curious incidents will surprise no more. 



miles in deep snow, and through a desperate night, on a bleak 
road, one of the wheels came off the carriage, and down we 
went ! We were at least two miles from any house. The 
driver cursed, in Irish, Michael the waiter, who, he said, had 
put a new wheel upon the carriage, which had turned out to be 
an old one, and had broken to pieces. 

We had to march through the snow to a wretched cottage, and 
sit up all night to get a genuine neiv wheel ready for the morning. 

The Irish peasant, also, never answers any question directly. 
In some districts, if you ask him where such a gentleman's 
house is, he will point and reply, " Does your honour see that 
large house there, aU amongst the trees, with a green field before 
it ?" You answer " Yes." " Well," says he, " plaze your honour, 
that's not it. But do you see the big brick house, with the cow- 
houses by the side of that same, and a pond of water ?" 

" Yes." 

" Well, plaze your honour, that's not it. But, if you plaze, 
look quite to the right of that same house, and you'U see the 
top of a castle amongst the trees there, with a road going down 
to it betune the bushes." 

" Yes." 

Well, plaze your honour, thafs not it neither ; but if your 
honour will come down this bit of a road a couple of miles, I'll 
show it you sure enough ; and if your honour's in a hurry, I can 
run on hot foot, and tell the squire your honour's galloping after 
me. Ah ! who shall I tell the squire, plaze your honour, is 
coming to see him ? He's my own landlord, God save his honour 
day and night ! " * 

* There is some truth in this ; but our philosophers have not explained the 
phenomena. The fact is, the peasant suspends his information that he may- 
gain time to speculate on your character, business, or profession, etc. While 
withholding the information you want, he is endeavouring to pick out the 
information he wants. All the while he is fencing against a direct answer he is 
striving to open a communication with your private affairs by forming an 
opportunity for a sly question of his own. He usually succeeds, and begins 
pumping you with such quaint grace that you never get angry with him. 
There is a light for the tale-mongers, if we are to be exposed to any more of their 




An Irish inn lias been an eternal subject of ridicule to every 
writer upon the habits and appearances of my native country. 
It is true that, in the early period of my life, most of the inns 
in Ireland were nearly of the same quality — a comjDosition of 
slovenliness, bad meat, worse cooking, and few vegetables save 
the royal Irish potato ; but plenty of fine eggs, smoked bacon, 
often excellent chickens, and occasionally the hen, as soon as 
she had done hatcliing them — if you could chew her. They 
generally had capital claret, and plenty of civility in all its 

The poor people did their best to entertain their guests, but 
did not understand their trade ; and, even had it been other- 
wise, they had neither furniture, nor money, nor credit, nor 
cattle, nor customers enough to keep things going well together. 
There were then no post-horses nor carriages, consequently very 
little travelling in Ireland ; and if there had been much, the 
ruts and holes would have rendered tliirty miles a-day a good 
journey. Yet I verily believe, on the whole, that the people in 
general were happier, at least they appeared vastly more con- 
tented, than at present. I certainly never met with so bad a 
thing in Ireland as the "Eed Cow" in John Bull ; for, whatever 
might have been the quality, there was plenty of something 
or other always to be had at the inns to assuage hunger and 

One anecdote respecting an Irish inn may, with modifica- 
tions, give some idea of others at that period. A Mrs. Moll 
Harding kept the natest inn at Ballyroan, close to my father's 
house. I recollect to have heard a passenger (they are very 
scarce there) telling her " that his sheets had not been aired." 


baeeington's personal sketches 

With great civility Moll Harding begged his honour's pardon, 
and said, " they certainly were and must have been well aired, 
for there was not a gentleman came to the house the last fort- 
night that had not slept in them ! " 

Another incident which occurred in an Irish inn is, for very 
good reasons, much more firmly impressed on my recollection, 
and may give a hint worth having to some curious travellers in 
their peregrinations to Kerry, Killarney, etc. 

The late Earl Farnham had a most beautiful demesne at a 
village called Newtown Barry, County Wexford. It is a choice 
spot, and his lordship resided in a very small house in the 
village. He was always so obliging as to make me dine with 
him on my circuit journey, and I slept at the little inn — in 
those days a very poor one indeed. 

The day of my arrival was on one occasion wet, and a very 
large assemblage of barristers were necessitated to put up with 
any accommodation they could get. I was sure of a good 
dinner ; but every bed was engaged. I dined with Lord F., 
took my wine merrily, and adjourned to the inn, determined to 
sit up all night at the kitchen fire. I found every one of my 
brethren in bed ; the maid-servant full of good liquor, and the 
man and woman of the house quite as joyously provided for. 
The lady declared she could not think of permitting my honour 
to sit up ; and if I would accept of their little snug cupboard- 
bed by the fireside, I should be warm and comfortable. This 
arrangement I thought a most agreeable one ; the bed was let 
down from the niche into which it had been folded up, and in a 
few minutes I was in a comfortable slumber. 

My first sensation in the morning was, however, one which 
it is not in my power to describe. I found myself in a state of 
suffocation, with my head down and my feet upwards ! A con- 
vulsive effort probably saved me from a most inglorious death. 
On a sudden I felt my position change ; and with a crash, sound- 
ing to me like thunder, down the bed and I came upon the floor. 
I cried out "Murder!" as vehemently as I could. The man, 
woman, and maid, by this time all sober, came running into 



the room together. 1 soon learned the cause of my perilous 

The maid, having been drunk when I went to bed, had totally 
forgotten me. In the morning, to clear the kitchen, she hoisted 
up the bed into its proper niche, and turned the button at the 
top that kept it in its place ; in consequence of which, down 
went my head and up went my heels ! and as air is an article 
indispensably necessary to existence, death would very soon 
have ended the argument, had not my violent struggles caused 
the button to give way, and so brought me once more out of 
the position of the Antipodes. The poor woman was as much 
alarmed as I was ! 


barrington's personal sketches 


As the circumstances attending the death of my younger 
brother, William Barrington, by the hand of the celebrated 
General Gillespie, whom Government has honoured with a monu- 
ment in Westminster Abbey, have been variously detailed, I 
think it right to take this opportunity of stating the facts of that 
most melancholy transaction. I will do so as concisely as may 
be, and as dispassionately as the slaughter of a beloved brother 
will admit of. 

William Barrington had passed his twentieth year, and had 
intended, without delay, to embrace the military profession. 
He was active, lively, full of spirit and of animal courage ; — his 
predominant traits were excessive good-nature and a most zeal- 
ous attachment to the honour and individuals of his family. 

GiUespie, then captain in a cavalry regiment, had shortly 
before the period in question married a Miss Taylor, an intimate 
friend of ours, and was quartered in Athy, where my mother 

A very close and daily intercourse sprung up between the 
families. After dinner, one day, at Gillespie's house, when every 
gentleman had taken more wine than was prudent, a dispute 
arose between my brother and a Mr. M'Kenzie, lieutenant in an 
infantry regiment, quartered at the same place. This dispute 
never should have been suffered to arise ; — and, as it was totally 
private, should, at least, never have proceeded further. But no 
attempt was made either to reconcile or check it on the part 
of Captain Gillespie, although the thing occurred at his own 

Gillespie was a very handsome person ; but it was not that 
species of soldier-like and manly beauty which bespeaks the 



union of courage and generosity. He had a fair and smooth 
countenance, wherein impetuosity appeared to be the pre^'ailing 
feature. His, however, was not the rapid flow of transitory 
anger, which, rushing ingenuously from the heart, is instantly 
suppressed by reason and repentance. I admire that temper ; 
it never inhabits the same mind with treachery or malice. On 
the contrary, a livid paleness overspread the countenance of 
Gillespie upon the slightest ruffle of his humour. The wlgar 
call such " ivhite-livered persons they are no favourites with 
the world in general ; and I have never, throughout the course 
of a long life, obser^'ed one man so constituted possessing a list 
of ^drtues. 

I never could bear Gillespie ! I had an iTistinctive dislike to 
him, which I strove, in vain, to conquer. I always considered 
him to be a dangerous man — an impetuous, unsafe companion — 
capable of an}'thing in his anger. I know I ought not to speak 
with prejudice ; yet, alas 1 if I do, who can blame me ? 

A cenotaph, voted by the British Parliament, has raised his 
fame ; but it is the fame of a sahrcur — erected on piles of 
slaughter, and cemented by the blood of Indians. Xo tale of 
social \Trtues appears to enrich the cornice of his monu- 
ment. I wish there had ! it would at any rate have indicated 

To return to my story. — ^lidway between Athy and Carlow 
was agreed on for a meeting. 1 resided in Dublin, and was 
ignorant of the transaction till too late ! A crowd, as usual, 
attended the combat ; several gentlemen, and some relatives of 
mine, were, I regret to say, present. In a smaU verdant field, 
on the bank of the Barrow, my brother and ^I'Kenzie were 
placed. GiUespie, who had been considered as the friend and 
intimate of my family, volunteered as second to M'Kenzie (a 
comparative stranger), who was in no way adverse to an amicable 
arrangement. Gillespie, however, would hear of none ; the 
honour of a military man, he said, must be satisfied, and nothing 
but Uood, or at least every effort to draw it, could form that 



The combatants fired and missed ; they fired again ; no mis- 
chief was the consequence. A reconciliation was now proposed, 
but objected to by Gillespie ; and will it be believed that, in a 
civilised country, when both combatants were satisfied, one of 
the principals should be instantly slain by a second ? Yet such 
was the case : my brother stood two fires from his opponent, and 
whilst professing his readiness to be reconciled, was shot dead 
by the hand of his opponent's second. 

Gillespie himself is now departed : he died by the same 
death that he had infiicted. But he was more favoured by Pro- 
vidence ; he died the death of a soldier ; fell by the hand of the 
enemy, not by the weapon of an intimate. 

William was my very beloved brother ! The news soon 
reached me in Dublin. I could not, or rather I durst not, give 
utterance to the nature and excess of my feelings on the com- 
munication. But sorroio had the least share in those thoughts 
which predominated. A passion not naturally mine absorbed 
every other ; I immediately set out post ; but my brother had 
been interred prior to my arrival ; and Gillespie, the sole object 
of my vengeance, had fled, nor was his retreat to be discovered. 
I lost no time in procuring a warrant for murder against him 
from Mr. Eyan, a magistrate. I sought him in every place ; day 
and night my pursuit was continued, but, as it pleased God, in 
vain. I was not, indeed, in a fit state for such a rencontre ; for 
had we met, he or 1 would surely have perished. 

I returned to Dublin, and, as my mind grew cooler, thanked 
heaven that I had not personally found him. I, however, pub- 
lished advertisements widely, offering a reward for his appre- 
hension ; and at length he surrendered into the prison of Mary- 

The assizes approached : and I cannot give the sequel of 
this melancholy story better than by a short recital of Gillespie's 
extraordinary trial, and the still more extraordinary incidents 
which terminated the transaction. 

The judges arrived at the assize town — it was during the 
summer assizes of 1788 — accompanied in the usual way by the 



High Sheriff, Mr. Lyons of Watercastle, and escorted by numer- 
ous bailiffs and a grand cavalcade. Mr. Lyons was a gentleman 
of taste and elegance, who had travelled much ; he possessed 
a small fortune, and a beautiful cottage orn^e on the banks of 
the Nore, near Lord De Vesci's. Mr. Thomas Kemmis, after- 
wards crown solicitor of Ireland, was the attorney very judi- 
ciously selected by Captain Gillespie to conduct his defence. 

The mode of choosing juries in criminal cases is well known 
to every lawyer, and its description would be iminteresting to an 
ordinary reader. Suffice it to say, that by the methods then 
used of selecting, arranging, and summoning the j)anel, a sheriff 
or sub-sheriff, in good understanding with a prisoner, might 
afford him very considerable if not decisive aid. And when it is 
considered that juries must be unanimous, even one dissentient 
or obstinate juror being capable of effectually preventing any 
conviction ; and further, that tlie charge we are alluding to was 
that of murder or homicide, occurring in consequence of a duel, 
on the same ground and at the same time ; it might fairly be 
expected that the culprit would stand a good chance of acquittal 
from military men. 

To select, by management, a military jury, was therefore the 
natural object of the prisoner and his friends ; and in fact, the 
list appeared with a number of half-pay officers at the head of it, 
who, as gentlemen, were naturally pained by seeing a brother- 
officer and a man of most prepossessing appearance, in the dock 
for murder. The two prisoners challenged forty-eight ; the list 
was expended, and the prosecutor was driven back to show cause 
why he objected to the first thirteen. No legal ground for such 
objection could be supported, and thus, out of twelve jurors, no 
less than ten were miUtary officers. The present Lord Downes, 
and the late Judge Fletcher, were the prisoner's counsel. 

On this, perhaps, the most interesting trial ever known in 
that county, numerous witnesses having been examined, the 
principal facts proved for the prosecution were : — that after 
M'Kenzie and my brother had fired four shots without effect, the 
latter said he hoped enough had been done for both their honours, 


baerington's personal sketches 

at the same time holding out his hand to M'Kenzie, whose 
second, Captain Gillespie, exclaimed, that his friend should not 
be satisfied, and that the affair should proceed. The spectators 
combined in considering it concluded, and a small circle having 
been formed, my brother, who persisted in uttering his pacific 
wishes, interposed some harsh expressions towards Gillespie, who 
thereupon losing all control over his temper suddenly threw a 
handkerchief to William Barrington, asking if he dared to take 
a corner of that. The unfortunate boy, full of spirit and intre- 
pidity, snatched at the handkerchief, and at the same moment 
received a ball from Gillespie through his body. So close 
were they together, that his coat appeared scorched by the 

He fell, and was carried to a cabin hard by, where he ex- 
pired in great agony the same evening. As he was in the act of 
falling, his pistol went off. Gillespie immediately fled, and was 
followed by three of his own dragoons, whom he had brought 
with him, and who were present at the transaction, but whom he 
declined examining on the trial. The spectators were very 
numerous, and scarcely a dry eye left the field. 

Capt. Gillespie's defence rested upon an assertion on his part 
of irritating expressions having been used by my brother, adding 
that the cock of his own pistol was knocked off by my brother's 
fire. But that very fact proved everything against him ; be- 
cause his shot must have been fired and have taken effect in my 
brother's body previously ; for if the cock had been broken in 
the first place, Gillespie's pistol could not have gone off. 

Judge Bradstreet, who tried the prisoners, held it to be 
clearly murder by law. A verdict of even manslaughter must, 
he contended, be returned by a forced or rather false construc- 
tion ; — but acquit Gillespie generally, the jury could not. 

The prosecution was not followed up against M'Kenzie, 
whose conduct throughout had been that of an officer and a 
gentleman, and who had likewise desired reconciliation. Of 
course he was acquitted. 

The jury had much difficulty in making up their verdict. 



Some of them, being men of considerable reputation, hesitated 
long. They could not acquit; they would not convict — and 
hence a course was taken which corresponded neither with the 
law nor the evidence. — A verdict of ''justifiable homicide'' was 
returned, in consequence of which Captain Gillespie was dis- 
charged on his recognisance to appear in the court of King's 
Bench the ensuing term, and plead his Majesty's pardon. 

Thus was compromised the justice of the country. Thus 
commenced the brilliant career of that general whom the muni- 
ficence of the British nation has immortalised by a monument 
amongst her heroes ! Thus did the blood of one of the finest 
youths of Ireland first whet Gillespie's appetite for that course 
of glorious butchery to which he owed his subsequent elevation. 
But conscience is retributive, and Heaven is just. I hear that 
he was never happy after ; intrepid to excess, he often tempted 
fate ; and his restless and remorseful existence was at length 
terminated by a Gentoo under the walls of Bangalore.* 

Scarcely was the melancholy trial referred to over, when the 
case was succeeded by another almost in the opposite extreme ; 
altogether too ludicrous to form the termination of so serious a 
business, but at the same time too extraordinary to be omitted. 
It was, in its way, as unparalleled an affair as that which gave 
rise to it. 

On the evening of the trial, my second brother, Henry French 
Barrington, a gentleman of considerable estate, of good temper but 
irresistible impetuosity, came to me. He was a complete country 
gentleman, utterly ignorant of the law, its terms and proceed- 
ings ; and as I was the first of my name who had ever followed 
any profession, the army excepted, my opinion, so soon as I 
became a counsellor, was considered by him as oracular. 

Having called me aside out of the bar-room, my brother 
seemed greatly agitated, and informed me that a friend of ours, 
who had seen the jury-list, declared that it had been decidedly 
packed ! He asked me what he ought to do ? I told him, we 

* The shallowness, incoherency, and bad taste of those ejaculations need no 
comment. Gillespie was killed in rashly storming a Ghoorka fort in Bengal. 


barrington's personal sketches 

should have " challenged the array." " That was my own 
opinion, Jonah/' said he, " and I will do it now ! " 

He said no more, but departed instantly, and I did not think 
again upon the subject. An hour after, however, my brother 
sent in a second request to see me. I found him, to all appear- 
ance, quite cool and tranquil. "I have done it," cried he, ex- 
ultingly ; " 'twas better late than never 1 " and with that he 
produced from his coat-pocket a long queue and a handful of 
pov/dered hair and curls. " See here ! " continued he, " the 
cowardly rascal ! " 

" Heavens ! " cried I, " French, are you mad ? " 

" Mad ! " replied he, " no, no 1 I followed your own advice 
exactly. I went directly after I left you to the grand jury-room 
to ' challenge the array,' and there I challenged the head of the 
array, that cowardly Lyons I He peremptorily refused to fight 
me, so I knocked him down before the grand jury and cut off 
his curls and tail ; see, here they are, the rascal 1 and my brother 
Jack is gone to flog the Sub-sheriff." 

I was thunder-struck, and almost thought my brother was 
crazy, since he was obviously not in liquor at all. But after 
some inquiry, I found that, like many other country gentlemen, 
he took words in their commonest acceptation. He had seen 
the High Sheriff coming in with a great " array'' and had thus 
conceived my suggestion as to challenging the array was literal ; 
and accordingly, repairing to the grand jury dining-room, had 
called the High Sheriff aside, told him he had omitted chal- 
lenging him before the trial, as he ought to have done according 
to advice of counsel, but that it was better late than never, and 
that he must immediately come out and fight him. Mr. Lyons, 
conceiving my brother to be intoxicated, drew back, and refused the 
invitation in a most peremptory manner. French then collared 
him, tripped up his heels, and putting his foot on his breast, cut 
off his side-curls and queue with a carving-knife which an old 
waiter named Spedding, who had been my father's butler, and 
liked the thing, had readily brought him from the dinner-table. 

Mr. Flood, one of the grand jury, afterwards informed me, 



that no human gravity could possibly ^^^thstand the astonish- 
ment and ludicrous figure of the mutilated High Sheriff ; the 
laugh, consequently, was both loud and long. Nobody chose to 
interfere in the concern ; and as Mr. Lyons had sustained no 
bodily injury, he received very little condolement amongst the 
country gentlemen. 

My situation in this curious denouement was truly to be 
commiserated, since I should be considered as the ad\dser of my 
brother ; and I therefore determined to consult Mr. Downes, 
Gillespie's counsel, as what was best to be done in the matter. 

Mr. (afterwards Lord) Downes, always proud, icy, and de- 
corous, seemed to think my brother's case irremediable, and 
ad\dsed French to fly and make terms, if possible. " Fly ! " 
said French Banington, when I informed him of the suggestion ; 
" no, no ! tell Counsellor Thingumhdb to go to the ball to-night, 
and he'll see more of the matter." In fact, my brother went to 
the ball-room ; tied the Sheriffs curls and queue to a lamp 
which hung in the centre of the room, got upon a form, and 
made a loud proclamation of the whole transaction. The re- 
monstrances of mothers, and other discreet efforts, were totally 
vain ; the girls liked the fun, and a succession of different sets did 
honour in turn to Mr. Lyons' late queue and curls. A club was 
consequently proposed, to be called the Curl Club, and to be held 
every summer assize ; and this ^vas for several years kept up. 

The ensuing morning my brother dressed up the bridle of 
liis hunter with the curls and queue, newdy powdered ; and 
ha\dng paraded the streets for a considerable time, rode home, 
and was never called to account or molested on the subject in 
any way w^hatsoever.* 

Here the matter ended. No application was made to the 
King's Bench. It could not have been done without involving 
the question as to the way in which the jury was constituted ; 
and since that matter would not bear sifting, the circumstances 
were suffered to remain without further investigation. 

* Tlie late Count d'Alton assured me of the truth of all those extraordinary 
particulars, which I had strongly douhted. 

96 barrington's personal sketches 


The day on which I first took my seat in the Irish Parliament 
for the City of Tuam, I still reflect on as one of the most grati- 
fying of my life. The circumstance, abstractedly, was but of 
secondary consideration ; but its occurrence brought back to my 
mind the events of past ages and the high respectability of the 
race from which I sprang. I almost fancied, as I entered the 
House, that I could see my forefathers, ranged upon those seats 
which they had so long and so honourably occupied in the senate 
of their country, welcoming their descendant to that post which 
had not for a few years past been filled by any member of the 
family. In fact, the purer part of my ambition was hereby 
gratified. I felt myself an entirely independent representative 
of an equally independent nation — as a man assuming his proper 
station in society, not acquiring a new one.* 

I confess I always had, and still continue to have, and to 
nourish, the pride which arises from having been born a gentle- 
man.t I am aware that wealth, and commerce, and perhaps 
talent, have, in modern times, occasioned family pride to be 
classed in the rank of follies, but I feel it nevertheless. If it be 
even a crime, I am culpable ; if a folly, I submit to be regarded 
as imbecile. The sensations I experienced were indeed alto- 
gether delightful upon finding myself seated under that grand 
and solemn dome. I looked around me, and saw the most dig- 
nified men of that day — the ablest orators — many of the best- 
bred courtiers, and some of the most unsophisticated patriots, + 
in the empire ! 

* This paragraph outherods Pepys ! 

t An advantage of which any man may be modestly proud ; and no man 
meanly jealous. 

J An unsophisticated patriot ! Verily ours is a rich vernacular. 



I was very gi-eatly moved and excited : it was not excite- 
ment of an ephemeral or feverish character iiTepressible in a 
young barrister of two years' standing. On the contrary, my 
emotions had their source in a tranquil, deep-seated, perhaps 
proud, satisfaction, impossible to be clearly described, and al- 
most impossible to be felt by any but such as might be placed 
in circumstances precisely similar. 

There were members present, I have already said, with 
whom I was personally acquainted. ^ly friend, Sir John 
I^arnell, partly, I am sure, on my accomit, and partly, no doubt, 
with a view to the service of government, lost no time in intro- 
ducing me to many of his own particular friends. 

I dined with him on that day : he was then Chancellor of 
the Exchequer. Tlie entire party I do not recollect ; but I 
remember perfectly those individuals of it with whom I subse- 
quently cultivated acquaintance. Amongst them were Major 
Ilobart (since Lord Buckinghamshire), Isaac Corry,* Sir John 
(since Lord) de Blacquiere, Eobert Thoroton, White, Marcus 
Beresford, Lord Clare's nephew, the present Lord Oriel, then 
Speaker,t Thomas Burgh of Bert, Sir Hercules Langreish,^ and 
James Cufife (since Lord Tyrawley). The scene was new to me : 
— liitherto, my society in Dublin had naturally fallen amongst 
the members of my own profession ; we were all barristers, and 
I felt myself but a barrister ; and though certainly we foiTaed at 
that time the second-best society in Ireland, it was inferior to 
that of which I had now become a member. I found myself, in 
fact, associated as an equal in a circle of legislators whose good- 
breeding, wit, and conviviality were mingled with political and 
general information. The first steps of the ladder were mounted ; 
and as meanwliile Sir John's champagne was excellent, and 
quickly passed round, my spirits rose to a pitch far liigher than 

* Afterwards Chancellor of the Exchequer on the dismissal of Pamell. 

t John Foster, last Speaker of the Irish Commons, a resolute anti-unionist. 
The present Viscount Massareene is his great-grandson, by a daughter of H. 
Dean Grady, whose opposition was bought up. 

J Sir Hercules was secured by a Commissionership of the Eevenue, and 
£15,000, for his patronage of Knoctopher. Now spelled Langrishe. 
VOL. I. H 


barrington's personal sketches 

in the morning, and any talent for conversation or anecdote 
whicli I might possess involuntarily coming out, Sir John ParneE, 
shaking his fat sides with laughter, said to me, " Barrington, 
you'll do!" upon which Sir Hercules Langreish, who had very 
much the tone of a Methodist preacher, yet was one of the 
wittiest men in Ireland, immediately said, — " N'o ; we must 
have another trial ; " and a day was fixed to dine with him. 

My acquaintance soon augmented to a degree almost incon- 
venient. I was not only the frequent guest of many of the dis- 
tinguished characters of Ireland, but was considered as an early 
and favoured candidate for any professional promotion which the 
shortness of my standing at the Bar would admit of 

Eeflecting, soon after I had taken my seat, on the novel 
nature of my situation, I felt that it was beset by considerable 
difficulties. I allude to the decision necessary for me to come to 
with respect to the line of politics I meant to pursue. Political 
parties at that time ran high, though but little individual 
hostility existed. Grattan, the two Ponsonbys, Curran, Brown- 
low, Porbes, Bowes, Daly, Connolly, Arthur Brown, and numer- 
ous other most respectable personages, were then linked together 
in a phalanx of opposition, which, under the name of whiggery, 
not only assailed the government upon every feasible occasion, 
but was always proposing measures which, under the then 
existing system, were utterly inadmissible. The opposition had * 
the advantage in point of ability, and therefore nothing but 
supreme talent had any chance, amongst them, of rendering its 
possessor useful or valued. 

The supporters of the Irish Government, as I have said, were 
certainly inferior, except in patronage and power, to the opposi- 
tion by which they were assailed. But they lived socially : 
there was a sort of convivial union amongst them, wliich, 
whether in high or low life, is, of all other ties, for a while most 
binding upon my countrymen. It was therefore rather incon- 
sistent in Lord Clare to give offence, as he did, to many of the 
most respectable gentlemen of Ireland by calling the Whigs an 
" eating and drinking club," since the sarcasm might, at least 



with equal justice, have been retorted ou the supporters of His 
Majesty's Government. All the great constitutional questions 
were, in 1790, supposed to have been arranged. Still the oppo- 
sition sought a more radical reform, to which the government 
would not accede. They wangled about every trifle — and that 
at a time when the local concerns of the country were advancing 
to the highest pitch of prosperity. To neither party, however, 
attached any dishonourable stigma, which should prevent an 
honest man from joining their ranks ; and meanwhile I sought 
celebrity and advancement. The coast was clear before me. I 
was my own master, and free to choose my own course. In case 
of my connecting myself with the Whigs, I saw that I must play 
but a very inferior part in their game. I felt that amidst such 
an assemblage of talent,* I had but little right to expect emi- 
nence, and still less probability of acquiring professional ad- 
vancement, even if my friends should become victorious. But, 
above all, I reflected that what at first view had appeared to me 
a blaze of constitutional patriotism, dwindled, on a closer inspec- 
tion, into what is generally called party .f 

The country had prospered beyond all possible anticipation, 
and was still further advancing in prosperity, under the then 
existing system of administration. I did not perceive that any 
immediate change of men or of measures was at all in prospect, 
nor that it was at that moment necessary, or even desirable. My 
immediate personal connections were an the side of the govern- 
ment. I had always doubted the sincerity of the Whigs: my 
doubts were now realised, and, on the whole consideration, I de- 
termined to attach myself to the administration. I had pre- 
viously voted with them on the choice of a Speaker ; but that I 
did not consider as constituting any pledge as to my future 
conduct. I voted for Mr. Foster, as the friend of Sir John 

* Whatever chance of distinction there may be for moderate ability among 
men of talent, there is much less for it when acting against them. The ambition 
to shine in the dark, like rotten wood, is of a miserable kind ; yet we see it every 

t A mere party-spirit could never have kept the anti-unionists together ; 
higher motives must necessarily have existed. 


barrington's personal sketches 

Parnell, and because I considered liim more fitting for the station 
than his opponent Mr. William Ponsonby. 

Thus, my mind being at length made up, I determined to 
render myself of some importance to the side I had adopted. 
The common course of desultory debate would have led to no 
distinction. I decided either to rise or fall ; and with this view, 
resolved to fly at once at the highest game, in which attempt 
even if I should not succeed, the trial itself would be honourable. 
My earliest effort was therefore directed against the two most 
celebrated speakers of that period, Grattan and Curran ; and on 
the first day I rose, I exhibited a specimen of what I may now 
call true arrogance. The novelty of such unexpected effrontery 
surprised the House, and afterwards surprised myself I launched 
into a strong philippic on the conduct of the most able and re- 
spectable opposition that Ireland had ever possessed. I followed 
and traced the "Whigs, as I thought, through all their meanderings 
and designs. In a word, I surpassed the boundaries, not only of 
what I had myself resolved, but of what common prudence and 
propriety should have dictated. The government party, at the 
same time, was evidently not gratified. Its members, no doubt, 
considered me as a lost partisan, who had courted and called for 
my own suppression ; and with some portion of the same feeling 
myself, I sat down almost ashamed of my forwardness, and 
awaiting a severe chastisement. How then must I have 
been surprised by the mild and gentlemanly retorts which I 
received from Grattan ! whilst Curran's good temper never 
showed itself more conspicuously than in his treating me merely 
with wit and facetiousness. I was abashed and mortified on 
contrasting the forbearance of those great men with my own 
intemperance. Had I perceived anything like contempt in that 
forbearance, I really believe I should have found it difficult to 
resume my spirits in the House ; but no such feeling appeared 
towards me, and it is most singular to say, that some incidents 
which sprang from that very night's debate gave rise both to the 
friendship of Mr. Grattan, with which I was afterwards honoured, 



and to the close intiinacy between me and ^Ir. Ciirran, which was 
never after interrupted * 

I had the good fortune, on that occasion, to make one fair 
hit as to Grattan, which he afterwards told me he was much 
pleased by. It came across me at the moment ; in fact, most of 
the speeches I made have been impramptu. I never studied 
a set speech in my life, except on law ca^es ; and perhaps 
to tliis circumstance I may honestly attribute an incorrectness 
of language that frequently attended my best efforts. 

Grattan had repeatedly assailed our side of the house, as " a 
side from which all public virtues had long been banished." I 
observed, " that the right honourable gentleman had proved un- 
equivoc^dly the falsehood of liis own assertion, that public virtue 
was confined to atie side of the house — for I had had the honour 
of seeing the right honourable gentleman himself on both" I 
alluded to his ha^'ing supported government against ^Ir. Flood, 
after the vote of £50,000 "f* by parliament. This joke was loudly 
cheered, and perhaps somewhat contributed to save me from 

From that day I attached myself zealously and sincerely to 
the administration of Lord Westmoreland. I became more or 
less intimate with almost every member of my party in parlia- 
ment. I formed close and lasting fidendsliips with Edward 
Cooke, the unfortunate and lamented Robert Thoroton, Isaac 
Corry, and Sir John de Blacquiere ; and it was not very long 
before the opposition also opened their convi\'ial ranks to receive 
me. Curran and Arthur Brown were the earliest of my intimates 
on that side the house ; and before 1792 had expired I felt 
myself as happy on all points, and as much befriended, as any 
man of my standing who had preceded me. 

Before I went into parliament, I had become acquainted with 

* This scene is happily described ; and the style is worthy of the pen that 
wrote The Rise and Fall of the Irish Xation, where pages crowd with examples 
of vigorous and polished composition. In these "Sketches " the author indulged 
in privileges of ease which he thought belonged to them. 

+ To reward Grattan's services to the country in asserting the independence of 
parliament, and obtaining a free trade. 


bareington's personal sketches 

Mr. E. Thoroton, who had come over to Ireland with the Duke 
of Kutland. He had the manner of a coxcomb, but the heart of 
a friend and the sentiments of a gentleman. He was clerk of the 
House of Commons ; and, being by no means a common man, 
formed a necessary part of all our societies. He and I lived much 
together ; and I found the intercourse very advantageous, since 
my friend knew everything that was going forward, and, under 
the rose, set me right on many occasions. At the same time, I 
was aware that circumstances existed which were the cause, to 
him, of great anxiety ; and finally, the death of Mr. Tlioroton by 
his own hand deprived me of one of the sincerest and most use- 
ful friends I ever possessed. 

But amongst the foremost of all those persons who, from first 
to last, endeavoured to do me service, was a man universally 
esteemed for his gentlemanly manners, and as universally abused 
for public jobbing. As to the latter, it concerned not me ; whilst 
his friendship was of the greatest advantage. 

Sir John (afterwards Lord) de Blacquiere, who was I believe 
of Swiss descent, had been colonel of a regiment of heavy cavalry 
in Ireland ; had acted as secretary of legation in France with 
Lord Harcourt, and, having succeeded him there for a short time 
as minister, came to Ireland with his lordship as principal secre- 
tary. He became a permanent resident, attached himself to that 
side of politics whence only he could derive the great object of 
his exertions, a revenue sufficiently ample to enable him to en- 
tertain his friends as well as any other person I had previously 
met. Nobody ever understood eating and drinking better than Sir 
John de Blacquiere ; and no man ever was better seconded in 
the former respect than he was by his cook Mrs. Smith, whom 
he brought from Paris, after he had been minister there. Sir 
John was one of the old school ; and with all the playful good- 
breeding by which it was distinguished, he had nothing of that 
starch pride which, in more recent times, has supplanted convi- 
viality without making men either wiser, better, or happier. 

Sir John certainly was a pluralist, enjoying, at one time, the 
first, the middle, and the last pension on the Irish civil list. He 



was director of the public works in Dublin ; and to liis johhinrj 
is that capital iadebted for its wide streets, pa\Tiig, lighting, and 
convenient fountains. He made as much as he could of these 
works, it is tme ; but every farthing he acquired in Ireland he 
expended in it. If his money came from the public purse, it was 
distributed to the public benefit : if he received pensions from 
the crown, butchers, bakers, and other tradesmen pocketed every 
shilHng of it. He knew employment to be the best species of 
charity. In short. Sir John de Blacquiere was as much abused, 
and as much regarded, as any public character of any period.* 

* Blacquiere had an utter disregard of money except in its acquisition ; and a 
heart and hand ready to relieve distress. Many of his greatest friends were of the 
opposition. He was amiable, frank, convivial, liberal ; of no mean capacity in 
debate or council ; and of clear, energetic administrative ability. 


bareington's personal sketches 


A VERY singular custom prevailed in the Irish House of Com- 
mons which never was adopted in England, nor have I ever seen 
it mentioned in print. The description of it may be amusing. 

On the day whereon the routine business of the budget was 
to be opened, for the purpose of voting supplies, the Speaker in- 
vited the whole of the members to dinner in the House, in his 
own and the adjoining chambers. Several peers were accustomed 
to mix in the company ; and I believe an equally happy, joyous, 
and convivial assemblage of legislators never was seen together. 
All distinctions as to government or opposition parties were 
totally laid aside ; harmony, wit, wine, and good humour reigning 
triumphant. The speaker, clerk, chancellor of the exchequer, 
and a very few veteran financiers, remained in the House till the 
necessary routine was gone through, and then joined their happy 
comrades, the party seldom breaking up till midnight. 

On the ensuing day the same festivities were repeated ; but 
on the third day, when the report was to be brought in, and the 
business discussed in detail, the scene totally changed. The 
convivialists were now metamorphosed into downright public 
declamatory enemies, and, ranged on opposite sides of the House, 
assailed each other without mercy. Every questionable item was 
debated — every proposition deliberately discussed — and more 
zealous or assiduous senators could nowhere be found than in the 
very members who, during two days, had appeared to commit the 
whole funds of the nation to the management of half-a-dozen 

But all this was consonant to the national character of the 
individuals. Set them at table, and no men enjoyed themselves 

OF HIS owx xniES. 


half so much ; set them to business, no men ever worked with 
more earnestness and effect. A steady Irishman wiU do more in 
an hour, when faii'ly engaged upon a matter which he under- 
stands, than any other countn'man, so far at least as my ob- 
servation has gone, in two. The persons of whom I am speak- 
ing were extraordinarily quick and sharp ! I am, however, 
ready to admit that the lower orders of officials, such as mere 
clerks in the public offices, exhibited no claim to a participation 
in the praise I have given their superioi^ : they were, on the 
other hand, frequently confused and incorrect ; and amongst that 
description of persons I believe there were then fewer competent 
men than in most countries. 

Another custom in the House gave rise to a Yery curious anec- 
dote which I shall here mention. The members formerly attended 
the House of Commons in full dress — an arrangement first broken 
through by the following circumstance : — 

A very important constitutional question was debating be- 
tween government and the opposition ; a question, by-the-by,' at 
which my EngUsh reader will probably feel surprised — namely, 
" as to the application of a sum of £60,000, then l}Tng iinappro- 
priated in the Irish Treasury, being a balance after paying all 
debts and demands upon the country or its establishments." The 
numbers seemed to be nearly poised, although it had been sup- 
posed that the majority would incline to give it to the king, 
whilst the opposition would recommend lajdng it out upon the 
countr}' ; when the serjeant-at-arms reported that a member 
wanted to force into the House undressed, in dirty boots, and 
splashed up to his shoulders. 

The Speaker could not oppose custom to privilege, and was 
necessitated to admit him. It proved to be ^Ir. Tottenham of 
BaUycarny, County Wexford, covered with mud, and wearing a 
pair of huge jack-boots ! Having heard that the question was 
likely to come on sooner than he expected, he had mounted his 
horse at BaUycarny, set off in the night, ridden nearly sixty miles 
up to the Parliament House direct, and rushed in, without wash- 
ing or cleaning himself, to vote for the countrTj. He arrived just 

106 barrington's personal sketches 

at the critical moment ! and critical it was, for the numbers were 
in truth equal, and his casting vote gave a majority of one to " the 
country" party. 

This anecdote could not die while the Irish Parliament lived ; 
and I recollect " Tottenham in his boots " remaining, down to a 
very late period, a standing toast at certain patriotic Irish tables. 

Being on the topic, to me still an interesting one, I must remark 
a singular practical distinction in the rules of the Irish and English 
Houses of Commons. In England the House is cleared of 
strangers for every division, and no person is supposed to see or 
know in what way the representatives of the people exercise their 
trust. In Ireland, on the contrary, the divisions were public, and 
red and black lists were immediately published of the voters on 
every important occasion. The origin of this distinction I can- 
not explain, but it must be owned that the Irish was the more 
constitutional practice. 

An interesting scene at which I was present merits especial 
description. In my time no other instance of the kind has oc- 
curred in the British Empire. As it forms an important record 
with relation to the independent political state of Ireland at the 
period, and has not yet been made the subject of historical ob- 
servation, it cannot fail to be interesting. I allude to the trial of 
a peer of the realm of Ireland for murder, by the House of Lords 
in Dublin, after the acknowledgment of Irish independence. 

The grand and awful solemnity of that trial made a deep im- 
pression on my memory ; and, coupled with the recollection that 
it proclaimed indisputably the sovereignty of the Irish nation, its 
effect on a contemplative mind was of a penetrating nature. 

Eobert, Earl of Kingston, stood charged with the murder of 
Colonel Fitzgerald, by shooting him in his bed-chamber. The 
relation of the circumstances of that event would only serve to 
recall painful recollections long since sunk into oblivion. I 
therefore abstain from any further allusion to them. Justice re- 
quired the trial of the accused party at the bar of his peers : — 
but as no similar case had occurred in Ireland within the memory 
of man, it was requisite to consult precedents upon the subject, 



in order to render his Lordsliip's trial conformable to the Lc:r Par- 
liamentaria common to both countries. These precedents were 
accordingly sought by the proper officers ; and as his Lordship 
was very popular, and liis provocation maddening, and as all 
were ignorant of the evidence which was to be brought forward, 
the whole affair was of a most exciting nature to every man, 
more especially to those individuals who possessed the noble 
Lord's acquaintance * 

Owing to the great number of attendants, the full muster of peers, 
and the extensive preparations of every kind necessary, the House 
of Lords was supposed to be insufficiently large for the occasion. 

The Irish House of Peers was considered one of the most 
beautiful and coimnodious chambers possible. It combined 
every appearance of dignity and comfort : the walls were covered 
with tapestry representing the battle of the Boyne, and the entire 
coup-cCceil was grand and interesting ; but being, as I have said, 
considered too small for all the purposes of the trial in question, 
the House of Commons was made ready in preference. 

Whoever had seen the interior of the Irish House of Com- 
mons must have admired it as one of the most chaste and classic 
models of architecture. A perfect rotunda, with Ionic pilasters, 
enclosed a corridor which ran round the interior. The cupola, of 
immense height, bestowed a magnificence which could rarely be 
surpassed ; whilst a gaUer}', supported by columns divided into 
compartments, and accommodating 700 spectators, commanded 
an uninterrupted view of the chamber.*!" 

Tliis gallery on every important debate was fiUed, not by 
reporters, but by the superior orders of society — the first rows 
being generally occupied by ladies of fashion and rank, who 
diffused a brilliance over and excited a gaUant decorum in that 
assembly, which the British House certainly does not appear 
very sedulously to cultivate. 

* The search for precedents, the popularity, the provocation, the excitement, 
are curiously concatenated. But to discerning readers these little things are 
happily invisible. 

t '* What is Dublin to Nenagh !" exclaimed a Tipperary man, after five years' 
residence in the former. 


bareington's personal sketches 

This fine cliamber was now fitted up in such a way as to give 
it the most solemn aspect. One compartment of seats in the 
body of the House was covered with scarlet cloth, and appropri- 
ated to the peeresses and their daughters, who ranged themselves 
according to the table of precedence. The Commons, their fami- 
lies and friends, lined the galleries. The whole house was 
superbly carpeted, and the Speaker's chair newly adorned for the 
Lord Chancellor. On the whole, it was by far the most impres- 
sive and majestic spectacle ever exhibited within those walls. 

At length the Peers entered, according to their rank, in full 
dress, and richly robed. Each man took his seat in profound 
silence ; and even the ladies (which was rather extraordinary) 
were likewise still. The Chancellor, bearing a white wand, 
having taken his chair, the most interesting moment of all was 
at hand, and its approach really made me shudder. 

Sir Chichester Fortescue, king-at-arms, in his party-coloured 
robe, entered first, carrying the armorial bearings of the accused 
nobleman emblazoned on his shield ; he placed himself on the 
left of the bar. Next entered Lord Kingston himself, in deep 
mourning, moving with a slow and melancholy step. His eyes 
were fixed on the ground, and, walking up to the bar, he was 
placed next to the king-at-arms, who then held his armorial 
shield on a level with his shoulder. 

The supposed executioner then approached, bearing a large 
hatchet with an immense broad blade. It was painted black 
except within about two inches of the edge, which was of bright 
polished steel. Placing himself at the bar on the right of the 
prisoner, he raised the hatchet about as high as his Lordship's 
neck, but with the shining edge averted ; and thus he remained 
during the whole of the trial. The forms, I understood, pre- 
scribed that the shining edge should be averted until the pro- 
nouncing of judgment, when, if it were unfavourable, the blade 
was instantly to be turned by the executioner toivards the prisoner, 
indicating at once his sentence and his fate. 

I could not reconcile my mind to the thought of such a con- 
summation. I knew the late Lord Kingston, and had a high 



regard for him ; and lience I felt a very uneasy sensation, inas- 
much as I was profoundly ignorant of what would be the termi- 
nation of the awful scene. 

The usual legal ceremonies were now entered on. The charge 
was read ; the prisoner pleaded not guilty ; and the trial pro- 
ceeded. A proclamation was made, first generally, then name by 
name, for the witnesses for the prosecution to come forward. It is 
not easy to describe the anxiety and suspense excited as each name 
was called over. The eyes of everybody were directed to the bar 
where the witnesses must enter, and every little movement of the 
persons who thronged it was held to be intended to make room 
for some accuser. Xone however appeared. Thrice they were 
called, but in vain ; and it was then announced, that " no 
witnesses appearing to substantiate the charge of murder against 
Kobert, Earl of Kingston, the trial shoidd terminate in the accus- 
tomed manner. ' The Chancellor proceeded to put the question ; 
and every Peer, according to his rank, arose, and deliberately 
walking by the chair in which the Chancellor was seated, placed 
his hand, as he passed, solemnly on his heart, and repeated, 
" iSot guilty, upon my honour !" (The bishops were, very pro- 
perly, precluded from voting in these criminal cases.) After all 
had passed, the ceremony having occupied an hour, the Chancellor 
rose and declared the opinion of the Peers of Ireland — " That 
Robert, Earl of Kingston, was not guilty of the charge against 
him." His Lordship then broke his wand, descended from his 
chair, and thus ended the trial ; most interesting, because it had 
at once a strong political and constitutional bearing, and affected 
a nobleman universally beloved. The result was highly satisfac- 
tory to every one who had learned the circumstances which led 
to the fatal event for which the Earl of Kingston was arraigned, 
whose conduct, though strictly justifiable neither in law nor 
morality, might have been adopted by the best of men under 
similar provocation.* 

* The falling through of the trial will be a great disappointment to many ; but 
many will read the description of the preparations with almost as much delight 
as if half the Peers of the kingdom had been brought to the block by it. 


bakrington's personal sketches 


Amongst those parliamentary gentlemen frequently to be found 
in the coffee-room of the House, were certain baronets of very 
singular character, who, until some division called them to vote, 
passed the intermediate time in high conviviality. Sir John 
Stuart Hamilton, a man of small fortune and large stature, pos- 
sessing a most liberal appetite both for solids and fluids — much 
wit, more humour, and indefatigable cheerfulness — might be 
regarded as their leader. 

Sir Eichard Musgrave, who, except on the abstract topics of 
politics, religion, martial law, his wife, the Pope, the Pretender, 
the Jesuits, Napper Tandy, and the whipping-post, was generally 
in his senses, formed, during those intervals, a very entertaining 
addition to the company. 

Sir Edward Newenham, member for Dublin County, afforded 
a whimsical variety by the affectation of early and exclusive 
transatlantic intelligence. By repeatedly writing letters of con- 
gratulation, he had at length extorted a reply from G-eneral 
Washington, which he exhibited upon every occasion, giving it 
to be understood, by significant nods, that he knew vastly more 
than he thought proper to communicate. 

Sir Vesey Colclough, member for County Wexford, who 
understood books and wine better than any of the party, had all 
his days treated money so extremely ill, that it would continue 
no longer in his service ! and the dross, as he termed it, having 
entirely forsaken him, he hequeatlied an immense landed property, 
during his life, to the uses of custodiums, elegits, and judgments, 
which never fail to place a gentleman's acres under the especial 
guardianship of the attorneys. He was father to that excellent 
man, John Colclough, who was killed at Wexford, and to the 



present Cesar Colclough, wliose fall might probably have aftbrded 
rather less cause of regret. 

Sir Yesey added much to the pleasantry of the party by 
occasionally forcing on them deep subjects of literature, of which 
few of his companions could make either head or tail ; but to 
avoid the imputatioii of ignorance, they often gave the most 
ludicrous proofs of it on literary subjects, geography, and astro- 
nomy, with which he eternally bored them. 

Sir Frederick Flood, also member for County Wexford, whose 
exliibitions in the Imperial Parliament have made him tolerably 
well known in England, was very different in his habits from the 
last-mentioned baronet : his love of money and spiiit of ostenta- 
tion never losing their hold throughout every action of liis life. 
He was but a second-rate blunderer in Ireland. The bulls of 
Sir Boyle Eoclie, of whom we shall speak hereafter, generally 
involved aphorisms of sound sense, whilst Sir Frederick's pos- 
sessed the qualification of being pure nonsense. 

He was a pretty, dapper man, very good-tempered ; and had 
a droll habit, of which he could never efiectually break himself, 
at least in Ireland : — whenever a person at his back whispered 
or suggested anything to him whilst he was speaking in public, 
^^'ithout a moment's reflection he almost always involuntarily 
repeated the suggestion literatim. 

Sir Frederick was once making a long speech in the Irish 
Parliament, lauding the transcendent merits of the Wexford 
magistracy, on a motion for extending the criminal jurisdiction in 
that county, to keep down the disaffected. As he was closing a 
most turgid oration, by declaring " that the said magistracy 
ought to receive some signal mark of the Lord Lieutenant's 
favour," — John Egan, who was rather mellow, and sitting behind 
him, jocularly whispered, "And be whipped at the cart's tail;" — 
" And be whipped at the cart's tail I " repeated Sir Frederick un- 
consciously, amidst peals of the most imcontrollable laughter. 

Sir John Blacquiere flew at higher game than the other 
baronets, though he occasionally fell into the trammels of Sir 
John Hamilton. Sir John Blacquiere was a little deaf of one ear, 


barrington's personal sketches 

for which circumstance lie gave a very singular reason ; his seat, 
when secretary, was the outside one on the treasury bench, next to 
a gangway ; and he said that so many members used to come per- 
petually to whisper him, and the buzz of importunity was so 
heavy and continuous, that before one claimant's words had got 
out of his ear, the demand of another forced its way in, till the ear- 
drum, being overcharged, absolutely burst ! This, he said, turned 
out conveniently enough, as he was then obliged to stuff the organ 
tight, and tell every gentleman that his physician had directed 
him not to use that ear at all, and the other as little as possible ! 

Sir John Stuart Hamilton played him one day, in the cor- 
ridor of the House of Commons, a trick which was a source of 
great entertainment to all parties. Joseph Hughes, a country 
farmer and neighbour of Sir John Stuart Hamilton, who knew 
nothing of great men, and had very seldom been in Dublin, was 
hard pressed to raise some money to pay the fine on a renewal 
of a bishop's lease — his only property. He came directly to Sir 
John, who, I believe, had himself drunk the farmer's spring 
pretty dry, whilst he could get anything out of it. As they were 
standing together in one of the corridors of the Parliament House, 
Sir John Blacquiere stopped to say something to his brother 
baronet : his star, which he frequently wore on rather shabby 
coats, struck the farmer's eye, who had never seen such a thing 
before ; and, coupling it with the very black visage of the wearer, 
and his peculiar aj^pearance altogether, our rustic was induced 
humbly to ask Sir John Hamilton " who that man was with the 
silver sign on his coat ?" 

''Don't you know him?" cried Sir John ; "why, that is a 
famous Jew money-broker." 

" May be, please your honour, he could do my little business 
for me," responded the honest farmer. 

" Trial's all !" said Sir John. 

" I'll pay well," observed Joseph. 

" That's precisely what he likes," replied the baronet. 

" Pray, Sir John," continued the farmer, "what's those words 
on his signV alluding to the motto on the star. 



" Oh," answered the other, " they are Latin, ' Tria juncta in 
lino.' " 

" And may I crave the English thereof?" asked the unsuspect- 
ing countryman. 

" Three in a bond," said Sir John. 

" Then I can match him," exclaimed Hughes. — " You'll be 
hard set," cried the malicious baronet ; " however, you may try." 

Hughes then approaching Blacquiere, who had removed but 
a very small space, told him, with great civility and a significant 
nod, that he had a little matter to mention, which he trusted 
would be agi'eeable to both parties. Blacquiere drew him aside 
and desired him to proceed. " To come to the point then, at 
once," said Hughes, " the money is not to say a gi-eat deal, and I 
can give you three in a bond — myself, and two good men as any 
in Cavan, along with me. I hope that will answer you. Three 
in a bond ! safe good men." 

Sir John, who wanted a supply himself, had the day before 
sent to a person who had advertised the lending of money ; and, 
on hearing the above harangue, taking for granted that it resulted 
from his owti application, he civilly assured Hughes that a bond 
would be of no use to him ! good bills might be negotiated, or 
securities turned into cash, though at a loss, but bonds would not 
answer at all. 

" I think I can get another man, and that's one more than 
your sign requires," said Hughes. 

" I tell you," repeated Sir John, " bonds will not answer at all, 
sir!— bills, bills 1" 

" Then it's fitter," retorted the incensed farmer, " for you to be 
after putting your sign there in your pocket, than wearing it to 
deceive the Christians, you damn'd usurer ! you Jew, you !" 

Xobody could be more amused by this denouement than Blac- 
quiere himself, who told everybody he knew, of Hamilton's 
trick upon the countryman!' 

Sir Richard Musgrave, although he understood drawing the 
long hoio as well as most people,* never patronised it in any other 

* *' Oh, wad some power the giftie gie us ! " etc. 
VOL. I. I 


bareington's personal sketches 

individual. Sir John Hamilton did not spare the exercise of this 
accomplishment in telling a story, one day, in the presence of 
Sir Eichard, who declared his incredulity rather abruptly, as in- 
deed was his constant manner. Sir John was much nettled at 
the mode in which the other dissented, more particularly as there 
were some strangers present. He asseverated the truth on his 
word: Sir Eichard, however, repeating his disbelief, Sir John 
Hamilton furiously exclaimed — " You say you don't believe my 

" I canH believe it," replied Sir Eichard, 

" Well, then," said Sir John, " if you won't believe my word, 
by G — I'll give it you under my hand,'' clenching at the same 
moment his great fist. 

The witticism raised a general laugh, in which the parties 
themselves joined, and in a moment all was good humour. But 
the company condemned both the offenders— Sir John for telling 
a lie, and Sir Eichard for not believing it — to the payment of two 
bottles of hock each. 

Whomever the following story may be fathered on. Sir John 
Hamilton was certainly its parent. The Duke of Eutland, at 
one of his levees, being at a loss, as probably most kings, princes, 
and viceroys occasionally are, for something to say to every 
person, remarked to Sir John Hamilton that there was " a 
prospect of an excellent crop : the timely rain," observed the 
Duke, " will bring everything above ground." 

" God forbid, your Excellency !" exclaimed the courtier. 

His Excellency stared, whilst Sir John continued, sighing 
heavily as he spoke — " Yes, God forbid ! for I have got three 
wives under it." 

At one of those large convivial parties which distinguished 
the table of Major Hobart, when he was Secretary in Ireland, 
amongst the usual loyal toasts, The wooden walls of England " 
was given. Sir John Hamilton, in his turn, gave " The wooden 
walls of Ireland ! " This toast being quite new to us all, he was 
asked for an explanation, upon which, filling a bumper, he very 
gravely stood up, and, bowing to the Marquess of Waterford 



and several countn^ gentlemen who commanded county regiments, 
he said — " My lords and gentlemen, I have the pleasure of gi^'ing 
you * The wooden walls of Ireland' — the colonels of militia /" 

So broad but so good-humoured a jeu esprit excited great 
merriment ; the truth was forgotten in the jocularity, but the 
epithet did not perish. I saw only one grave countenance in 
the room, and that belonged to the late Marquess of Waterford, 
who was the proudest egotist I ever met with. He had a 
tremendous squint, nor was there anything prepossessing in the 
residue of his features to atone for that deformity. Xothing 
can better exemplify his lordship's opinion of himself and others 
than an observation I heard him make at Lord Portarlington's 
table. Having occasion for a superlative degi'ee of comparison 
between two persons, he was at a loss for a climax. At length, 
however, he luckily hit on one. " That man was," said the 
Marquess, "he was as superior as — as — as — I am to Lord 
Eanelagh !" 

I will now advert to Sir Boyle Roche, who was, without 
exception, the most celebrated and entertaining anti-grammarian 
in the Irish Parliament. I knew him intimately. He was of a 
veiy respectable Irish family, and, in point of appearance, a 
fine, bluff, soldier-like old gentleman. He had numerous good 
qualities, and, having been long in the army, his ideas were full 
of honour and etiquette, of discipline and bravery. He had a 
claim to the title of Fermoy, which, however, he never pursued ; 
and was brother to the famous Tiger Eoche, who fought some 
despei-ate duel abroad, and was near being hanged for it. Sir 
Boyle was perfectly weU bred in all his habits ; had been 
appointed gentleman-usher at the Irish Court, and executed the 
duties of that office to the day of his death with the utmost 
satisfaction to himself as well as to every one in connection 
with him. He was married to the eldest daughter of Sir 
John Cave, Bart. ; and his lady, who was a " bas bleu," prema- 
turely injured Sir Boyle's capacity, it was said, by forcing him 
to read Gibbon's Rise a^nd Fall of the RomoM Empire,''' whereat 

* A matchless piece of humour. 


barrington's personal sketches 

he was so cruelly puzzled, without being in the least amused, 
that, in his cups, he often stigmatised the great historian as a 
low fellow, who ought to have been kicked out of company 
wherever he was, for turning people's thoughts away from their 
prayers and their politics to what the devil himself could make 
neither head nor tail of ! 

His perpetually bragging that Sir John Cave had given him 
his eldest daughter afforded Curran an opportunity of replying — 
" Ay, Sir Boyle, and depend on it, if he had had an older one 
still he would have given her to you," Sir Boyle thought it 
best to receive the repartee as a compliment, lest it should come 
to her ladyship's ears, who, for several years back, had prohibited 
Sir Boyle from all allusions to chronology. 

This baronet had certainly one great advantage over all 
other bull and blunder makers — ^he seldom launched a blunder 
from which some fine aphorism or maxim might not be easily 
extracted. When a debate arose in the Irish House of Commons 
on the vote of a grant which was recommended by Sir John 
Parnell, Chancellor of the Exchequer, as one not likely to be felt 
burthensome for many years to come, it was observed, in reply, 
that the House had no just right to load posterity with a 
weighty debt for what could in no degree operate to their 
advantage. Sir Boyle, eager to defend the measures of govern- 
ment, immediately rose, and, in a few words, put forward the 
most unanswerable argument which human ingenuity could 
possibly devise. "What, Mr. Speaker!" said he, "and so we 
are to beggar ourselves for fear of vexing posterity! Now, I 
would ask the honourable gentleman, and this still more 
honourable House, why we should put ourselves out of our way 
to do anything for posterity — for what has posterity done for 

Sir Boyle, hearing the roar of laughter which of course 
followed this sensible blunder, but not being conscious that he 
had said anything out of the way, was rather puzzled, and 
conceived that the House had misunderstood him. He therefore 

* Si non e vero, ben trovato. 



begged leave to explain, as lie apprehended that gentlemen had 
entirely mistaken his words. He assured the House " that by 
posterity he did not at all mean our ancestor's, but those who were 
to come immccliatelij after them." Upon hearing this explana- 
tion, it was impossible to do any serious business for half-an- 

Sir Boyle Eoche was induced by government to fight as 
hard as possible for the Union. So he did ; and I really 
believe fancied, by degrees, that he was right. On one occasion, 
a general titter arose at his florid picture of the happiness which 
must proceed from this event. " Gentlemen," said Sir Boyle, 
" may titther, and tittlier, and titther, and may think it a bad 
measure ; but tlieii* heads at present are hot, and will so remain 
till they grow cool again, and so they can't decide right now ; 
but Avhen the day of judgment comes, tlun honourable gentle- 
men will be satisfied at this most excellent Union. Sir, there 
is no Levitical degrees between nations, and on this occasion I 
can see neither sin nor shame in marrying our oivn sister." 

He was a determined enemy to the French Eevolution, and 
seldom rose in the house for several years without volunteering 
some abuse of it. " Mr. Speaker," said he, in a mood of this 
kind, " if we once permitted the villanous French masons to 
meddle with the buttresses and walls of our ancient constitution, 
they would never stop nor stay, sir, till they brought the foun- 
dation-stones tumbling down about the ears of the nation ! 
There," continued Sir Boyle, placing his hand earnestly on his 
heart, his powdered head shaking in unison with his loyal zeal, 
whilst he described the probable consequences of an invasion of 
Ireland by the French republicans ; " There, Mr. Speaker ! if 
those Gallican villains should invade us, sir, 'tis on that very 
table, maybe, these honourable members might see their own 
destinies lying in heaps a-top of one another ! Here, perhaps, 
sir, the murderous marshal-law-men (Marseillois) would break in, 
cut us to mince-meat, and throw our bleeding heads upon that 
table, to stare us in the face !" 

Sir Boyle, on another occasion, was arguing for the Habeas 


baeeington's peesonal sketches 

Corpus Suspension Bill in Ireland : — " It would surely be better, 
Mr. Speaker/' said he, " to give up not only a part, but, if neces- 
sary, even the whole, of our constitution, to preserve the re- 

This baronet having been one of the Irish Parliamentary 
curiosities before the Union, I have only exemplified his mode of 
blundering, as many ridiculous sayings have been attributed to 
him. He blundered certainly more than any public speaker in 
Ireland ; but his bulls were rather logical perversions, and had 
some strong point in most of them. 

The English people consider a bull as nothing more than a 
vulgar nonsensical expression : but Irish blunders are frequently 
humorous hyperboles or oxymorons, and present very often the 
most energetic mode of expressing the speaker's meaning. 

On the motion to expel Lord Edward Fitzgerald from the 
House of Commons, for hasty disrespectful expressions regarding 
the House and the Lord Lieutenant, it was observable that the 
motion was violently supported by the younger men then in Par- 
liament ; including the late Marquess of Ormonde, etc. The Mar- 
quess was, indeed, one of the strongest supporters of a measure, 
the object of which was to disgrace a young nobleman, his own 
equal : and it was likewise worthy of remark that the motion 
was resisted by the steadiest and oldest members of the House. 

Sir Boyle Eoche laboured hard and successfully for Lord 
Edward, who was eventually required to make an apology : it 
was not, however, considered sufficiently ample or repentant. 
Sir Boyle was at his wits' end, and at length produced a natural 
syllogism, which, by putting the House in good humour, did 
more than a host of reasoners could have achieved. "Mr, 
Speaker," said the baronet, " I think the noble young man has 
no business to make any apology. He is a gentleman, and none 
such should be asked to make an apology, because no gentleman 
could mean to give offence." 

Never was there a more sensible hlunder than the following. 
We recommend it as a motto to gentlemen in the army. " The 
best way," said Sir Boyle, " to avoid danger, is to meet it plump" 




In December 1793, the Secretary, Lord Buckingliamsliire, wrote 
to say that he wished to see me at the Castle. I immediately 
attended, when he said, " Barrington, I am about to depart from 
Ireland ; and," continued he, after my sincere expressions of 
regret, " as you have heretofore had nothing from us but convi- 
vial intercourse, it is just you should now have fare somewhat 
more substantial ; with the approbation of the Lord Lieutenant, 
therefore, I have managed to secure for you a very handsome 
office — the ships' Entries of the port of Dublin." 

At the name and nature of this office I rather demurred ; 
whereupon Lord Buckinghamshire smiled and said, " You have 
no objection to a good sinecure, I suppose, the emoluments pay- 
able every Sunday morning by the deputy : the place was lately 
held by Mr. George Ponsonby, and is at this moment enjoyed by 
Serjeant Coppinger ; but I have negotiated to give him, his son, 
and his wife, an annuity of £800 a-year to resign it to you." 

This, so far, was agreeable : but still professional advance- 
ment being the object next my heart, I neither felt nor looked 
totally satisfied. 

Lord B. then said, You are a grumbling feUow ; but I antici- 
pated your grumbling, and the Lord Chancellor (Lord Clare) has 
consented to your being at the same time appointed one of the 
king's counsel, thus at once giving you a step over the heads of 
all your circuit seniors, except Sir Frederick Flood, who is not, 
I fancy, very formidable." 

This arrangement altogether met my wishes. I hastened to 
Lords Westmoreland and Clare, to thank them most cordially ; 
and tlie fifth year after becoming a barrister, I found myself at 
the head of my circuit, and high up in the official rank of my 


bareington's persokal sketches 

profession. Practice generally follows the fortunate : I was 
immediately considered as on the high-road of preferment ; the 
attorneys pursued me like a flock of rooks 1 and my business was 

I purchased a fine house in Merrion Square, from Mr. Eobert 
Johnson, then counsel to the revenue, afterwards judge, who at 
that period felt himself going down hill ; and here I launched 
into an absolute press of business ; perhaps justly acquiring 
thereby the jealousy of many of my seniors. This jealousy, 
however, gave rise to one of the most gratifying incidents of 
my life. 

John, Earl of Ormonde, resided, like a true Irish nobleman, 
in the utmost splendour and hospitality, in his fine ancient castle 
at Kilkenny. He scarcely ever went even to the Irish metropolis 
- — his entire fortune being expended in his own city ; whereby 
every shopkeeper and trader experienced the advantages of his 
lordship's residence. His establishment was ample — his table 
profuse — his friendship warm and unbounded. The very appear- 
ance of his castle, though only a portion of the old Duke's, was 
still such as to remind the spectator of its former magnificence. 
Proudly towering over the river I^ore, from which it was sepa- 
rated only by the public walk, a high and grand rampart on that 
side conveyed the idea at once of a palace and a fortress ; whilst 
towards the city an old princely portal, flanked by round towers, 
opened into a spacious court, within which were preserved two 
sides of the original edifice, and a third was, at the period I 
allude to, rebuilding, in a style, however, far too modern and 
ordinary. The exterior mouldings of the castle exhibited the 
remains of the gilding which had formerly been laid on with a 
lavish hand. 

The interior of this noble edifice, with the exception of one 
saloon and the picture-gallery, was not calculated to satisfy ex- 
pectation ; but both those were unique — the one with respect to 
its form, the other to its prospects. The grand saloon was not 
shaped like any other, I believe, existing — oval in its figure, and 
not large ; but the wall, twelve feet thick, admitted of recesses 



on the sides, which had the appearance of small rooms, each 
being terminated by a large window, and the sides covered with 
mirrors, which reflected the beautiful and varied prospects of 
city, country, wood, river, and public promenade. AVhen I was 
at the castle, in fact, everything appeared to me delightful. 

Walter, the late Marquess of Ormonde, though my junior in 
years, had been my intimate friend and companion ; as was also 
liis cousin, Bryan Cavanagh. Lady Ormonde, mother of Walter, 
was the only child of Earl Wandesford, and, as lady of the castle, 
was careful to keep up at least her due importance. It is not 
impossible for women, or men either, to mistake pomposity for 
dignity. True pride is accompanied by an amiable condescen- 
sion ; cold, unbending ceremony is the result of false pride, and 
not of dignity. I thought, perhaps erroneously, that her ladyship 
made this mistake. 

The Earl John, my friend's father, was rather in the oppo- 
site extreme. He was well-read and friendly, a hard-goer'^ as it 
was called, and an incessant talker. His Lordship occasionally 
adjourned to a kind of tavern in the city, of which a certain widow 
^Madden was the hostess, and where one Mr. Evans, surnamed 
" Hell-cat," together with the best boozers and other gentlemen 
of Kilkenny, assembled to amuse his Lordsliip by their jests and 
warm punch, and to emulate each other in the devouring of 
oysters and lobsters — the best which could possibly be procured 
Hither, in fact, the company from the castle were habituated 
often to repair. 

These boozing-matches sometimes proceeded rather too far ; 
and one night Mr. Duffy, a sharp, smart, independent-minded 
apothecary of Ejlkenny, who had offended the Ormonde family 
on some very sensitive point, being alluded to, a member of the 
party, with more zeal than prudence, proposed as a toast, " a 
round of rascals ! " taking care to designate Doctor Duify as 
belonging to that honourable fraternity. On departing from the 
tavern, far more fuU of liquor than wit, some wild young man 
in company suggested the demolition of the doctor's windows. 

* Bon-vivant. 



No sooner said than done. The piper played, the stones flew, and 
Duffy's shivered panes bore ample testimony to the strength of 
the widow's beverage. No personal injury, however, ensued, and 
the affair appeared to have terminated. 

A glazier was sent early next morning by command of my 
Lord to repair the windows, but this the doctor refused to allow, 
and in due form applied for and obtained a criminal information 
in the King's Bench for the outrage, against Lord Ormonde, his 
son Walter, James the present Marquess, Lord Thurles, and 
others. The information was, in due legal form, sent down to be 
tried at the Spring Assizes very soon after I had been appointed 
king's counsel. 

None felt more jealousy at my promotion than Mr. William 
Fletcher, since Judge of the Common Pleas, many years my 
senior at the bar and on circuit. Lord Ormonde directed briefs 
to be sent to me and to Fletcher, with fees of fifteen guineas 
each. 1 never loved money much in my life, and therefore 
thought it quite enough ; or rather, I did not think about it. 

The defendant's case fell of course to me as leading counsel. 
At this circumstance Fletcher felt sore and ran sulky ; and the 
sulkier he got the more zealous became I. We had but a bad 
case of it. The cross-examination of the irritated apothecary, who 
grew after awhile quite ferocious, fell to my lot. I performed 
my duty, and it then devolved on Fletcher to speak to the 
evidence. This, however, he declined. I pressed him, but he 
peremptorily refused. I exclaimed, " Nay, Fletcher, you took a 
fee; why not speak?" "Yes," answered the angry barrister, 
"just enough to make me hold my tongue !" " Do speak," per- 
sisted I. " I won't" replied he. " Then I must do it for you," 
was my rejoinder. My zeal was enkindled, my mind was on fire, 
and I felt myself in earnest and interested. I persevered till I 
saw the jury smile, for which purpose they only wanted a good 
pretence. I held on my course till I saw them pleased ; and the 
result was an acquittal of Lord Ormonde, and a conviction of all 
the others. 

On the ensuing Summer Assizes Lord Ormonde invited the 



Judges, Barristers, several of tlie Grand Jury, and the principal 
gentlemen of the county, to a magnificent dinner at the Castle. 
It was a long table, and everything in the grandest style. A 
judge sat on each side of Lady Ormonde, at the head, and Fletcher 
and myself were their next neighbours. After the cloth had been 
removed, and Lady Ormonde was retired, his Lordship stood up, 
and in a loud voice said, — " I have waited with impatience for 
this public opportunity of expressing to ]\Ir. Barrington the high 
sense I entertain of his important and disinterested services to 
me at the last assizes : I now beg his acceptance of a small 
testimonial of my gratitude and friendship ; " and he immediately 
slid along the table a magnificent gold snuff-box, with his arms, 
&c., and the follo^\4ng inscription : — 

A Token of Friendship and Gratitude from the Earl of Ormonde and Ossory to 
Jonah Barrington, Esq., one of His Majesty's Counsel-at-law. August, 1794." 

I was utterly astonished by this distinguished and most 
unexpected favour, conferred in so public and honourable a 
manner ; and involuntarily, without a moment's thought, but 
certainly with the appearance of ill-nature, I triumphantly 
handed round the box for the inspection of my brother barris- 
ters. Fletcher, confused, as might be supposed, slightly shoved 
it back to me. His conduct on the trial having been known, a 
sensation became visible amongst the company, which I would 
almost have given up the box to have avoided exciting. His 
countenance, however, though not usually subject to be much 
impressed by kind feelings, clearly acquitted me of any inten- 
tional insult. In truth, I reaUy felt as much as he did when I 
perceived my error, and wished to pocket the prize without its 
creating further notice. But this was impossible ; I was obliged 
to return thanks, which ceremony I went through very badly. 

Next morning I found a billet from the Earl, enveloping a 
bank-note for £100, with these words : — 

" Dear Sir — My attorney did not do you justice ; you will 
permit me to be my ovm attorney on this occasion. — Your friend 
and humble servant, Ormonde and Ossoky." 


bakkington's personal sketches 

From that time to the day of his Lordship's death I experi- 
enced from him, on every occasion within his reach, the utmost 
extent of kindness, civility, and friendship. His successor, with 
whom I had been so long and so very intimately acquainted, was 
whirled at an early age into the vortex of fashionable life and 
profligacy. Having lost his best guide and truest friend, his 
cousin Bryan Cavanagh, many of his naturally fine qualities were 
either blunted by dissipation or absorbed in the licentious in- 
fluence of a fashionable connection. 

I have mentioned Walter, Marquess of Ormonde, the more 
particularly because, extraordinary as it may appear, it certainly 
was to a fatal connection of his that I owe several of the most 
painful and injurious events of my life. 

His Lordship married his own god-daughter, but too late to 
give a chance for reformation ; and never have I remarked, 
through the course of a long observing life, any progress more 
complete, from the natural levities of youth to the confirmed 
habits of dissipation ; from the first order of early talent to the 
humblest state of premature imbecility, than that of the late 
Marquess of Ormonde, who had, at one period of our intimacy, as 
engaging a person, as many manly qualities, and to the full as 
much intellectual promise, as any young man of his country. 




Until England dragged the sister kingdom with herself into the 
ruinous expenses of the American war, Ireland owed no puhlic 
debt. There were no taxes, save local ones : the Parliament, 
being composed of resident gentlemen, interested in the prosperity 
and weKare of their country, was profuse in promoting all useful 
schemes ; and no projector, who coidd show any reasonable 
grounds for seeking assistance, had difficulty in finding a patron. 
On these points, indeed, the gentlemen who possessed influence, 
were often unguarded, and sometimes extravagant. 

Amongst other projectors, whose ingenuity was excited by 
this liberal conduct, was one of a very singular description — a 
Turk who had come over, or (as the on-dit went) had fled from 
Constantinople. He proposed to establish, what was greatly 
wanted at that time in the Irish metropolis, " Hot and Cold Sea- 
water Baths ;" and by way of advancing his pretensions to pubHc 
encouragement, oftered to open free baths for the poor, on an 
extensive plan — gi^'ing them, as a doctor, attendance and advice 
gratis, every day in the year. He spoke English very intelligibly ; 
his person was extremely remarkable ; and the more so, as he 
was the first Turk who had ever walked the streets of Dublin in 
his native costume. He was in height considerably above sLx 
feet, rather pompous in his gait, and apparently powerful ; an 
immense black beard covering his chin and upper lip. There 
was, at the same time, something cheerful and cordial in the 
man's address ; and, altogether, he cut a ^'ery imposing figure. 
Everybody liked Doctor Achmet Borumborad : his Turkish dress, 
being extremely handsome without any approach to the tawdry, 
and crowned with an immense turban, drew the eyes of every 


barrington's personal sketches 

passer by ; and I must say that I have never myself seen a more 
stately-looking Turk since that period. 

The eccentricity of the Doctor's appearance was, indeed, as 
will readily be imagined, the occasion of much idle observation 
and conjecture. At first, whenever he went abroad, a crowd of 
people, chiefly boys, was sure to attend him — but at a respectful 
distance ; and if he turned to look behind him, the gaping boobies 
fled, as if they conceived even his looks to be mortal. These 
fears, however, gradually wore away, and were entirely shaken 
off, on the fact being made public, that he meant to attend the 
poor, and, in the usual spirit of exaggeration, cure all disorders 
whatever ! 

My fair readers will perhaps smile when I assure them that 
the persons who seemed to have the least apprehension of Doc- 
tor Borumborad, or rather to think him ''a very nice Turk!" 
were the ladies of the metropolis. Many a smart, snug little 
husband, who had been heretofore considered " quite the thing," 
— despotic in his own house, and peremptory commandant of 
his own family, was now regarded as a wretched, contemptible, 
close-shaven pigmy, in comparison with the immensity of the 
Doctor's figure and whiskers ; and, what is more extraordinary, 
his good humour and engaging manners gained him many friends 
even among the husbands themselves ! he thus becoming, in a 
shorter period than could be imagined, a particular favourite 
with the entire city, male and female. 

Doctor Achmet Borumborad, having obtained footing thus 
far, next succeeded surprisingly in making his way amongst the 
members of Parliament. He was full of conversation, yet knew 
his proper distance ; pregnant with anecdote, but discreet in its 
expenditure ; and he had the peculiar talent of being humble 
without the appearance of humility. A submissive Turk would 
have been out of character, and a haughty one excluded from 
society : the Doctor was aware of this, and regulated his de- 
meanour with remarkable skill upon every occasion, whereon, as 
a lion, he was invited to the tables of the great. By this line of 
conduct, he managed to warm those who patronised him into 



becoming violent partisans ; and accordingly Kttle or no diffi- 
culty was experienced in getting a grant from Parliament for a 
sufficient fund to commence his great metropolitan undertaking. 

Baths were now planned after Turkish models. The money 
voted was most faithfully appropriated ; and a more ingenious 
or useful establishment could not be formed in any metropolis. 
But the cash, it was soon discovered, ran too short to enable the 
Doctor to complete his scheme ; and, on the ensuing session, a 
further vote became necessary, which was by no means opposed, 
as the institution was good, fairly executed, and charitably ap- 
plied. The worthy Doctor kept his ground : session after session 
he petitioned for fresh assistance, and never met with refusal : 
his profits were good, and he lived well ; whilst the baths proved 
of the utmost benefit, and the poor received attention and service 
from his establishment without cost. An immense cold bath 
was constructed, to communicate with the river : it was large 
and deep, and entirely renewed every tide. The neatest lodging 
rooms, for those patients who chose to remaiu during a course 
of bathing, were added to the establishment, and always occupied. 
In short, the whole affair became so popular, and Dr. Achmet 
acquired so many friends, that the annual grants of Parliament 
were considered nearly as matters of course. 

But alas ! fortune is treacherous, and prosperity unstable. 
Whilst the ingenious Borumborad was thus rapidly flourishing, 
an unlucky though most ludicrous incident threw the poor fellow 
completely aback ; and, without any fault on his part, nearly 
ruined both himself and his institution. 

Preparatory to every session, it was the Doctor's invariable 
custom to give a grand dinner, at the baths, to a large number 
of liis patrons, members of Parliament, who were in the habit of 
proposing and supporting his grants. He always on these occa- 
sions procured some professional singers, as well as the finest 
wines in Ireland ; endeavouring to render the parties as joyous 
and convivial as possible. Some nobleman, or commoner of note, 
always acted for him as chairman, the Doctor himseK being quite 


barrington's personal sketches 

At the last commencement of a session, whereupon he anti- 
cipated this patronage, it was intended to increase his grant, in 
order to meet the expenses of certain new works, etc., which he 
had executed on the strength of the ensuing supply ; and the 
Doctor had invited nearly thirty of the leading members to a 
grand dinner in his spacious saloon. The singers were of the 
first order ; the claret and champagne excellent ; and never was 
the Turk's hospitality shown off to better advantage, or the ap- 
petites of his guests administered to with greater success. The 
effects of the wine, as usual on all such meetings in Ireland, be- 
gan to grow obvious. The elder and more discreet members 
were for adjourning ; whilst the juveniles declared they would 
stay for another dozen ! and Doctor Borumborad accordingly 
went down himself to his cellar, to select and send up a choice 
dozen by way of honne louche for finishing the refractory members 
of Parliament. 

In his absence. Sir John S. Hamilton, though a very dry 
member, took it into his head that he had taken enough, and 
rose to go away, as is customary in these days of freedom when 
people are so circumstanced ; but at that period men were not 
always their own masters on such occasions, and a general cry 
arose of — " Stop, Sir John ! — stop him ! — the bonne bouche ! — 
the bonne bouche !" The carousers were on the alert instantly : 
Sir John opened the door and rushed out ; the antechamber was 
not lighted ; some one or two-and-twenty staunch members stuck 
to his skirts ; when splash at once comes Sir John, not into the 
street, but into the great cold hath, the door of which he had re- 
treated by, in mistake ! The other parliament-men were too 
close upon the baronet to stop short : in they went by fours and 
fives ; and one or two, who, on hearing the splashing of the water, 
cunningly threw themselves down on the brink to avoid popping 
in, operated directly as stumbling-blocks to those behind, who 
thus obtained their full share of a tonne louche none of the par- 
ties had bargained for. 

When Doctor Borumborad re-entered, ushering a couple of 
servants laden with a dozen of his best wine, and missed all his 



company, he thought some de\dl had carried them off ; but per- 
ceiving the door of his noble, deep, cold salt-water bath open, he 
with dismay rushed thither, and espied eighteen or nineteen 
Irish parliament-men either floating like so many corks upon the 
surface, or scrambling to get out like mice who had fallen into 
a bason ! 

It was unlucky, also, that, as the Doctor was a Turk, he had 
no Christian wardrobe to substitute for the weU-soaked garments 
of the Honourable ^lembers. Such dresses, however, as he had, 
were speedily put into requisition ; the bathing attendants fur- 
nished their quota of dry apparel*; and all was speedily distri- 
buted amongst the swimmers, some of wliom exhibited in Turkish 
costume, others in bathing shifts ; and when the clothes failed, 
blankets were pinned around the rest. Large fires were made 
in every room ; brandy and mulled wine liberally resorted to ; 
and as fast as sedan-chairs could be procured, the Irish Com- 
moners were sent home, cursing all Turks and infidels, and de- 
nouncing a crusade against anything coming from the same 
quarter of the globe as Constantinople. 

Poor Doctor Achmet Borumborad was distracted and quite 
inconsolable ! Next day he duly visited every suffering member, 
and though well received, was acute enough to see that the 
ridicule with which they had covered themselves was likely 
to work out eventually his ruin. His anticipations were well 
founded : though the members sought to hush up the ridiculous 
parts of the story, they became, from that very attempt, still 
more celebrated. In fact, it was too good a joke to escape the 
embellishments of Irish humour ; and the statement universally 
circulated was — that " Doctor Borumborad had nearly drowned 
nineteen members of parliament, because they would not promise 
to vote for him ! " 

The poor Doctor was now assailed in every way. Among 
other things, it was asserted that he was the Turk who had 
strangled the Christians in the Seven Towers at Constantinople ! 
Though everybody laughed at their own inventions, they be- 
lieved those of other people ; and the conclusion was, that no 

VOL. I. K 


barrington's personal sketches 

more grants could be proposed, since not a single member was 
stout enough to mention the name of Borumborad ! the laugh, 
indeed, would have overwhelmed the best speech ever delivered 
in the Irish parliament. 

Still, the new works must be paid for, although no conve- 
nient vote came to make the necessary provision : the poor 
Doctor was therefore cramped a little ; but notwithstanding his 
embarrassment, he kept his ground well, and lost no private 
friends except such as the wearing-off of novelty estranged. He 
continued to get on ; and at length a new circumstance inter- 
vened to restore his happiness, in a way as little to be antici- 
pated by the reader as was his previous discomfiture. 

Love had actually seized upon the Turk above two years 
before the accident we have been recording. A respectable sur- 
geon of Dublin, of the name of Hartigan, had what might be 
termed a very " neat " sister ; and this lady had made a lasting 
impression on the heart of Borumborad, who had no reason to 
complain of his suit being treated with disdain, or even indiffer- 
ence. On the contrary. Miss H. liked the Doctor vastly ! and 
praised the Turks in general, both for their dashing spirit and 
their beautiful whiskers. It was not, however, consistent either 
with her own or her brother's Christianity, to submit to the 
Doctor's tremendous beard, or think of matrimony, till " he had 
shaved the chin at least, and got a parson to turn him into a 
Christian, or something of that kind." Upon those terms only 
would she surrender her charms and her money — for some she 
had — to Doctor Achmet Borumborad, however amiable. 

The Doctor's courtship with the members of parliament hav- 
ing now terminated, so far at anyrate as further grants were con- 
cerned, and a grant of a much more tender nature being now 
within his reach, he began seriously to consider if he should not 
at once capitulate to Miss H., and exchange his beard and his 
Alcoran for a razor and the New Testament. After weighing 
matters deliberately, love prevailed, and he intimated by letter, 
in the proper vehemence of Asiatic passion, his determination to 
turn Christian, discard his beard, and, throwing himself at the 



feet of his beloved, vow eternal fidelity to lier in the holy bands 
of matrimony. He concluded by requesting an interview in the 
presence of the young lady's confidant, a Miss Owen, who resided 
next door. His request was granted, and he repeated his pro- 
posal, which was duly accepted, Miss Hartigan stipulating that 
he should never see her again until the double promise in his 
letter was fully redeemed ; upon which he miglit mention his 
own day for the ceremony. The Doctor, having engaged to com- 
ply, took leave. 

On the evening of the same day a gentleman was announced 
to the bride-elect with a message from Doctor Achmet Borum- 
borad. Her confidential neighbour was immediately summoned, 
the gentleman waiting meantime in a coach at the door. At 
length ^liss Hartigan and her friend being ready to receive him, 
in walked a Christian gallant, in a suit of full-dress black, and a 
very tall fine-looking Christian he was. Miss H. was surprised ; 
she did not recognise her lover, particularly as she thought it 
impossible he could have been made a Christian before the ensu- 
ing Sunday ! He immediately, however, fell on his knees, seized 
and kissed her lily hand, and, on her beginning to expostulate, 
cried out at once, — " Don't be angry, my dear creature. To tell 
the honest truth, I am as good a Christian as the archbishop ! 
I'm your own countryman, sure enough — Mr. Patrick Joyce 
from Kilkenny county. The devil a Turk any more than your- 
self, my sweet angel ! " The ladies were astonished ; but as- 
tonishment did not prevent Miss Hartigan from keeping her 
word, and j\Ir. and ]\Irs. Joyce became a very loving and happy 

The doctor's great skill, however, was supposed to lie in his 
beard and faith, consequently, on this denouement, the baths 
declined. But the honest fellow had never done any discredit- 
able act ; none indeed was ever laid to his charge. He fully 
performed every engagement with the Parliament whilst he 
retained the power to do so. 

His beauty and portly appearance were considerably dimi- 
nished by his change of garb. The long beard and picturesque 


bareington's personal sketches 

dress had been half the battle ; and he was, after his transfor- 
mation, but a plain, rather coarse, but still brave-looking fellow. 

This little story shows the facility with which public money 
was formerly voted, and at the same time the comparatively for- 
tunate financial state of Ireland at that period, when the public 
purse could afford a multiplicity of such supplies without any 
tax or imposition whatsoever being laid upon the people to pro- 
vide for them !* How very different were the measures of that 
Parliament even ten years afterwards ! 

* How money could be voted without raising taxes, is a riddle. I suppose 
tlie meaning to be that the subsidies given to the Turkish Baths were taken from 
an ordinary surplus. This early effort at introducing those baths is curious, and 
the disinterested testimony of Barrington in favour of them not a little remark- 
able. Dr. Barter of Cork, then, has not the merit of originality in introducing 
those Eastern appliances. It is likely, however, that he had never heard of his 
predecessor Borum Joyce, when he promulgated his enterprise in 1846. Without 
examining the hydropathic system, or any theory of ablutions ; since a panacea is 
a chimera of lunacy, and the best remedies require prudent administration ; it is 
but just to own that Anne's Hill, near the Groves of Blarney, is a delightful 



alder:mex of skixxees' alley. 

Orange societies, as they are termed, were first formed by the 
Protestants to oppose and coimteract the turbulent demonstra- 
tions of the Catholics, who formed the population of the south 
of Ireland. But at their commencement the Orangemen cer- 
tainly adopted a principle of interference which was not confined 
to religious points alone, but went to put do^vn all popular 
insurrections which might arise on any point. The term Pro- 
testant ascendency was coined by Mr. John Gififard, of whom 
more hereafter, and became a phrase very fatal to the peace of 
Ireland. Many associations indeed were, from time to time, 
originated, some for reform, others to oppose it ; some for tolera- 
tion, others for intolerance. There were good men and loyal 
subjects among the members of eack 

I followed up the principles my family had invariably pur- 
sued from their first settlement in Ireland ; namely, an attach- 
ment divided between the crown and the people. In the year 
1795, I saw that the people were likely to grow too strong for 
the crown ; and therefore became at once — not indeed an ultra, 
but one in whom loyalty absorbed almost every other consider- 
ation. I willingly united in every effort to check the rising 
spirit of popular disaffection ; the dreadful results of which were 
manifested in the atrocities acting throughout France, and in the 
tottering state of the crowns of Europe. 

I had been previously initiated by my friend, Doctor Dui- 
genan,* judge of the Prerogative Court, into a very curious but 

* Patrick Duigenan was son of a parish-clerk of St. TVerburgh's Church, 
Dublin. He took a scholarship in Trinity College, of which he became a fellow. 
His quarrelsome disposition embroOed him with the provost, Dr. Hutchinson. 
In consequence of this quarrel he left the university, retaining, however, the pro- 
fessorship of law. Following up this profession, he obtained a silk gown, and the 


barrington's personal sketches 

most loyal society, whereof he was grand-master at the time of 
my election ; and as this club differed essentially from any other 
in the empire, it may be amusing to describe it ; a labour which 
perhaps nobody has hitherto undertaken. 

This curious assemblage was called " The Aldermen of Skin- 
ners' Alley." It Y/as the first Orange association ever formed ; 
and having, at the period I allude to, existed a full century in 
pristine vigour, it had acquired considerable local influence and 
importance. Its origin was as follows : — After AVilliam the Third 
had mounted the English throne, and King James had assumed 
the reigns of government in Ireland, the latter monarch annulled 
the then existing charter of the Dublin Corporation, dismissed 
all the aldermen who had espoused the revolutionary cause, and 
replaced them by others attached to himself. In doing this he 
was certainly justifiable. The deposed aldermen, however, had 
secreted some little articles of their paraphernalia, and privately 
assembled in an alehouse in Skinners' Alley, a very obscure part 
of the capital. Here they continued to hold Anti-Jacobite 
meetings ; elected their own lord mayor and officers ; and got a 
marble bust of King William, which they regarded as a sort of 
deity ! These meetings were carried on till the battle of the 

appointments of Judge of tlie Prerogative Court and King's Advocate in the Court 
of Admiralty. He and Barrington used consequently to plead in eacli other's 
court, a circumstance which, combined with many good qualities on both sides, 
maintained a constant and friendly intercourse between them He had a strong, 
active, combative mind, well furnished but roughly cultivated. His brain was 
ever on fire, and seized on every species of fuel ; but that which supported its 
most violent flames was Popery, or perhaps his affected hate of it. If he did 
hate it, it was for the sake of profit, excitement, dogmatism, and notoriety, for 
he had a kindly heart ; and there is reason to believe that he largely indulged in 
private benevolence, since his emoluments were large, his habits frugal, and his 
accumulations trifling. His pamphlets and speeches were remarkable for the 
weight of the materials and the fury of the management ; abounding in resources 
and ending in vapour. I am sorry to have to say of this able, amusing, and 
social firebrand, that he served under the government as a bribery-broker. 

Whatever may be thought of Burke, especially from his Essay on the Sublime 
and Beautiful, which he never surpassed, there is nothing to be found in him of 
greater vivacity and finish than Barrington's character of Duigenan. This the 
reader Avill find in the fifteenth chapter of The Rise and Fall, etc. 

OF HIS owx rorzs. 


Bovne put William in possession of Dublin, when King J ames's 
aldermen were immediatelv casliiered, and the Aldermen of SJ.'iu- 
7icrs' Alley reinvested with their mace and aldermanic glories. 

To honour the memorv of their restorer, therefore, a perma- 
nent association was formed, and invested with all the memorials 
of their former disgrace and latter reinstatement. This organi- 
sation, constituted near a century before, remained, I fancy, 
quite unaltered at the time I became a member. To make the 
general influence of this association the greater, the number of 
members was unlimited, and the mode of admission solely by the 
proposal and seconding of tried aldermen. For the same reason, 
no class, however humble, was excluded — equaKty reigning in 
its most perfect stat€ at the assemblies. Generals and wig- 
makers, king's counsel and hackney clerks, etc., aU mingled with- 
out distinction as brother-aldermen : a lord mayor was annually 
appointed ; and regularity and decorum always prevailed — ^iintil, 
at least, towards the conclusion of the meetings, when the alder- 
men became more than usually noisy and exlularated ; King 
William's bust being placed lq the centre of the supper-table, to 
overlook their extreme loyalty. The times of meeting were 
monthly ; and every member paid sixpence per month, which 
sum, allowing for the absentees, afforded plenty of eatables, 
porter and punch, for the supping aldermen. 

Their charter-dish was sheeps trotters, in allusion to King 
James's running away from Dublin : — rum-punch in blue jugs, 
whisky-punch in white ones, and porter in its pewter, were 
scattered plentifully over the table ; and aU regular formalities 
having been gone through, and the eating part of the ceremony 
ended, the real business began by a general chorus of " God save 
the King!" Whereupon the grand engine, which, as a loyal 
and facetious shoemaker obsers ed, would hind every sole of them 
together, and commemorate them all till the end of time, was 
set at work by order of the lord mayor. This engine was the 
charter-toast, always given with nine times nine ! and duly suc- 
ceeded by vociferous acclamations. 

The 1st of July, the anniversary of the battle of the Boyne, 


barrington's personal sketches 

was the favourite night of assembly : then every man unbuttoned 
the knees of his breeches, and drank the toast on his bare joints 
— it being pronounced by his lordship in the following words, 
composed expressly for the purpose in the year 1689 ; after- 
wards adopted by the Orange societies generally ; and still, I 
believe, considered as the charter-toast of them all. 

This most ancient and unparalleled sentiment runs thus : — 


" The glorious, pious, and immortal memory of the great and 
good King "William : not forgetting Oliver Cromwell, who as- 
sisted in redeeming us from popery, slavery, arbitrary power, 
brass money, and wooden shoes. May we never want a Wil- 
liamite to kick a Jacobite ! — or a rope for the Bishop of Corh ! 
And he that won't drink this, whether he be priest, bishop, 
deacon, bellows-blower, or grave-digger ; may a north wind blow 
him to the south, and a west wind blow him to the east ! May 
Cerberus make a meal of him, and Pluto a snuff-box of his skull. 

The extraordinary zeal wherewith this toast was drunk could 
only be equalled by the enthusiasm with which the blue and 
white jugs and pewter pots were resorted to, to ascertain the 
quality of the potation within. They then rebuttoned the knees 
of their breeches (trousers had not come into fashion), and sat 
down to work again in downright earnest. Mr. Powell, a jolly 
apothecary, led, in my time, the vocal band ; and after a dozen 

* The more offensive parts of this sentiment have "been suppressed. We might 
have stopped at the wooden shoes ; for the heel-tapping is by no means artistic ; 
but it is our duty to preserve all we can. 

This oath, much of which may be justly viewed as superadded garnish and 
bacchanal levity, does not seem to have any great influence on neighbourly rela- 
tions, except, perhaps, in times of public excitement, such as the recurrence of 
political anniversaries. Even in bad times, the rancour of party is not strong 
enough to poison human charity. One of the proclaimed men of 1848 found refuge 
and safety in the house of the grand -master of an Orange lodge. This was the 
learned and promising Thomas D. O'Reilly, Esq. , who made his escape to America, 
and there died at an early age. 



speeches, accompanied by numerous replenishments of the jugs, 
etc., everybody who had anything to do in the morning generally 
withdrew, leaving the rest of the loyalists to finish the last drop. 

The idea of "Orange Societies" arose, in my opinion, from 
this association.* I believe it exists still ; but has, I understand, 
degenerated into a sort of ludf-mounted club ; not exclusive 
enough for gentlemen, and too fine for wig-makers : it has sunk 
into a paltry and unimportant corporate utensil. 

I recollect an amusing circumstance which many years back 
occurred in this lodge. Until politics gi-ew too hot, Xapper Tandy 
and several other of the patriots were aldermen : but finding that 
ultra-loyalty was making way too fast for their notions, they 
sought some fair opportunity of seceding from the club, stealing 
the mace, and regenerating the whole board and establishment 
of Skinners' Alley. The opportunity was not long wanting. 

An apothecary, of the name of M'^Mahon, had become an 
alderman solely to avoid being considered a friend of the Pope : 
this, in point of reality, he was ; but since, at that period, his 
creed was not the popular one, he conceived that he might 
thrive better in his business by appearing a stanch Protestant. 

But M'Mahon was, like many an honest fellow, vastly more 
candid when he got " the sup in " than he had ever intended to 
be. Thus, one unfortunate night, " Dr. ^PMahon, the apothe- 
cary," ha\ing made too free with the blue jug, forgot his com- 
pany, and began to speak rather unkindly of Eling William. 
His worthy associates took fire at this sacrilege offered to their 
patron saint ; and one word brought on another. The Doctor 
grew outrageous ; and, in his paroxysm, actually damned King 
William ! In the enthusiasm of his popery, and most thought- 
lessly for himself and for the unhappy king's bust then staring 
before him, he struck it with his huge fist plump in the face ! 

The bust immediately showed evident symptoms of maltreat- 
ment ; its white marble appearing to be actually stained \\dth 

* Their origin has been otherwise given ; but the matter is uninteresting. It 
is said they were at first called "Wreckers;" but, perhaps, only by their oppo- 


bakrington's personal sketches 

Mood ! One of the aldermen roared out — "That villain, M'Mahon, 
has broken the king's nose!" — "The king's nose?" ran throughout 
the room : the cry of " Throw him out of the window!" was un- 
animously adopted ; the window was opened ; and the Doctor, 
after exerting all his muscular powers, forced out remorselessly. 
Again, the " Glorious Memory " was drunk, the king's nose 
washed clean from the blood formerly belonging to the Doctor's 
knuckles, and all restored to peace and tranquillity. Fortunately 
for M'Mahon, a lamp and lamp-iron stood immediately under the 
window. His route downwards was impeded by a crash against 
the lamp ; the glass and other materials yielded to the precious 
weight, and probably prevented the pavement from having the 
honour of braining him. He held a moment by the iron, and 
then dropped quite gently into the arms of a couple of guardians 
of the night, who, attracted by the uproar in the room above, and 
seeing the Doctor getting out feet foremost, conceived that it was 
only a drunken frolic, and so placed themselves underneath " to 
keep the gentleman out of the gutter." 

The Doctor scarcely waited to thank his preservers, set out 
pretty well sobered to his home, and the next day, summoning 
all the humane and patriotic aldermen, to whom he told his own 
story, they determined to secede and set up a new corps at the 
King's Arms in Fownes's Street. The old aldermen defended 
their conduct as loyal subjects ; the others stigmatised it as the 
act of a set of manslaughterers : these old and young guards of 
the British Constitution from that day set about advertising each 
other, and making proselytes on either side ; and the Orange and 
United Irishmen parties gained as many recruiting-serjeants by 
the fracas, as there were permanents or seceders amongst those 
illustrious aldermen. 

As nothing is so much calculated to gratify the aldermen of 
Skinners' Alley as anecdotes respecting his Holiness the Pope, 
or their eminences the cardinals, I am happy in being enabled 
to afford them one, of which I was an eye-witness. 

A few years since, the present Sir John Bourke of Glinsk, Bart., 
travelled with his ncAV-married lady and establishment to Kome — 



not solely for liis pleasure, but, as au Irish Catholic, to pay his re- 
spects to the Pope, kiss his Holiness' toe, and purchase antiquities. 

The late Sir Francis Gould, then at Paris, requested Sir John 
(before me) that, as he fancied he felt himself in a declining state 
of health, and unable to travel so far as Eome, he (Sir John) would 
take the proper steps, through Cardinal Gonsalvi, to procure him 
from his Holiness a bull of plenary absolution, and, if possible, 
an indulgence also ; adding that Sir John might liint to the 
Cardinal that he intended to bequeath a good deal of his property 
amongst the clergy. 

Sir John undertook the matter, — proceeded to Piome, — saw 
the Cardinal, and, as far as the absolution went, succeeded. He 
was himself at the same time created " Marchese de Bourke of 
the Holy Eoman Empire and a bull was duly made out for Sir 
Francis Gould, at very considerable expense. Sir John received 
also a couple of blessed candles, six feet long, to burn whilst the 
bull was being read. Its express terms and conditions, however, 
were : — " Provided the penitent. Sir Francis Gould, should not 
again voluntarily commit the same sins now forgiven;" a list 
which included nearly all the sins the Cardinal could think of ! 

Sir John having brought home the bull, magnificently enclosed, 
and sewed up in a silk bag sealed officially by the Cardinal, in- 
formed Sir Francis, as we were all dining together at Bourke's 
Hotel, that he had that day unpacked his luggage, had the Pope's 
bull perfectly safe, and would hand it to him instantly. 

Sir Francis asked him its exact purport. Sir John informed 
him so far as his Latin went. Sir Francis calmly said, " My dear 
Bourke, don't give me the bull yet mvliile: its operation, I find, is 
only retrospective, and does not affect sins committed after its de- 
livery. Send it to me in about ten days or a fortnight — not sooner: 
it will answer then pretty w^ell, as I am about taking away my 
landlady's daughter, next week, and I should have that to answer 
for if you gave me the bull before I had her out of Paris." 

He kept his word, took off the girl, and in a very short time 
was afforded, by death, an opportunity of trying the efficacy of 
the indulgence. 


baeeington's personal sketches 


Nothing can better show the high opinion entertained by the 
Irish of their own importance, and particularly by that cele- 
brated body called the corporation of Dublin, than the following 
incident. Mr. Willis, a leather-breechesmaker in Dame Street, 
and a famous orator at the corporation meetings, holding forth 
one day about the parochial watch (a subject which he con- 
sidered as of the utmost general importance), discoursed as 
follows: — ''This, my friends, is a subject neither trifling nor 
obscure : the character of our corporation is at stake on your 
decision ! — recollect," continued he, " recollect, brother freemen, 
that the eyes of all Europe are upon us 

One of the customs of Dublin which prevailed in my early 
days made such a strong impression upon my mind that it 
never could be obliterated. The most magnificent and showy 
procession, I really believe, except those of Eome, then took 
place in the Irish metropolis every third year, and attracted a 
number of English quite surprising, if we take into account the 
great difficulty existing at that time with regard to travelling 
from London to Dublin. 

The corporation of the latter city were by the terms of their 
charter bound, once in three years, to perambulate the limits of 
the lord mayor's jurisdiction, to make stands or stations at 
various points, and to skirt the Earl of Meath's liberties — a 

' * I was present at this little dialogue between two worthy baronets : — Alder- 
man Harty — "Long as I know the corporation, how comes it that there were 
never five of us together who could speak five words of good English inten- 
tionally?" Alderman Shaw — "If there were, we would not be a corporation, 
but — a college ! I think, Harty, you may have safely added — or unintentionally ; 
'twould bring the eyes of Europe on us ! " Councillor M'Cleary — " If them lazy 
asses would read as much as me, they wouldn't have the reporters a laughing. " 



part of the citv at that era in great prosperity, but foiming a 
local jurisdicrion of its own (in the nature of a manor), totally 
distinct from that of DiiblicL 

This procession being in fact partly intended to mark and to 
designate the extreme boundaries of his lordship's jurisdiction, 
at those points where they touch the Earl of Meath's liberty, 
the lord mayor thrust his sword through the wall of a certain 
house ; and then concluded the ceremony by approaching the 
sea at low-water, and hurling a javelin as far upon the sands 
as his strength admitted, which was imderstood to form the 
boundary between him and Xeptune. 

The trade of DubUn is comprised of twenty-five corporations, 
or guilds,* each independent of the other, and represented, as in 
London by a common council Every one of these comprised 
its masters, journeymen, and apprentices ; and each guild had a 
patron saint, or protector, whose image or emblem was on all 
great occasions dressed up in appropriate habiliments. 

For this procession every member of the twenty-five corpora- 
tions prepared as for a jubilee. Small funds only were collected, 
and each individual gladly bore his extra charges ; the masters 
and journeymen being desirous of outvying one another, and 
conceiving that the gayer they appeared on that great day, the 
more consideration would they be entitled to throughout the 
ensuing three years ! Of course, therefore, such as could afford 
it spared no expense : they borrowed the finest horses and 
trappings which could be procured ; the masters rode, the 
journeymen walked, and were succeeded by the apprentices. 

Every corporation had an immense carriage, with a great 
platform and high canopy ; the whole radiant with gilding, 
ribbons, and draperies, and drawn by six or eight horses equally 

* By the refonned Municipal Act, those guilds were abolished, and the city 
was divided into fifteen wards returning by their respective burgesses, who also 
exercise parliamentary suf&age, fifteen aldermen and forty -fire town -councillors to 
rejffesent them, and constitute the civic administration- To inaugurate the new 
lord -mayor there is an atiTiTial procession through some of the principal streets ; 
but the riding th« froaukises, as the old triennial pomp was called, is not at all 
carried out as desmbed in the text. 


barrington's personal sketches 

decked and caparisoned. On these platforms, wliicli were fitted 
up as workshops, were the implements of the respective trades, 
and expert hands were actually at work during the entire per- 
ambulation, which generally lasted eight or nine hours. The 
procession indeed took two hours to pass. The narrow-weavers 
wove ribbons which they threw to the spectators ; the Others 
tossed into the air small patterns of the fabric they worked 
upon ; the printers were employed in striking off innumerable 
handbills, with songs and odes to the lord mayor. 

But the smiths' part of the spectacle was the most gaudy : 
they had their forge in full work, and were attended by a very 
high phaeton adorned in every way they could think of — the 
horses covered with flowers and coloured streamers. In this 
phaeton sat the most beautiful girl they could possibly procure, 
in the character of wife to their patron, Vulcan. It is unneces- 
sary to describe her dress ; suffice it to say, it approached that 
of a Yenus as nearly as decency would permit : a blue scarf, 
covered with silver doves, was used at her discretion, and four 
or five little Cupids, attired like pages, aiming with bows and 
arrows at the ladies in the windows, played at her feet. On one 
side rode, on the largest horse which could be provided, a huge 
fellow, representing Vulcan, dressed cap-a-pie in coal-black 
armour, and flourishing an immense smith's sledge-hammer ! 
On the other side pranced his rival. Mars, on a tawdry-capari- 
soned charger, in shining armour, with an immensity of feathers 
and horse-hair, and brandishing a two-edged glittering sword six 
or eight feet long. Venus meantime seemed to pay much more 
attention to her gallant than to her husband. Behind the phaeton 
rode Argus, with an immense peacock's tail ; whilst numerous 
other gods and goddesses, saints, devils, satyrs, etc., were distri- 
buted in the procession. 

The skinners and tanners seemed to undergo no slight 
penance ; a considerable number of these artisans being dressed 
up close in sheep and goat skins of different colours. The 
representatives of the butchers were enveloped in hides, with 
long towering horns, and rode along brandishing knives and 



cleavers — a most formidable-looking corporation! The apothe- 
caries made up and distributed piUs and boluses on their plat- 
form, which was furnished with numerous pestles and mortars 
so contrived as to sound, in the gTinding, like bells, and pounding 
out some popular air. Each corporation had its appropriate 
band and colours ; perfect order was maintained ; and so proud 
was the Dublin mob of what they called their fringes, that on 
these peculiar occasions they managed to behave with great 
decorum and propriety. 

I never could guess the reason why, but the crowd seemed 
ever in the most anxious expectation to see tlie tailors, who were 
certainly the favourites. The master tailors usually borrowed 
the best horses from their customers ; and as they were not ac- 
customed to horseback, the scene was highly ludicrous. A tailor 
on a spirited horse has always been esteemed a curiosity ; but a 
troop of a hundred and fifty tailors, all decked with ribbons and 
lace and every species of finery, on horses equally smart, pre- 
sented a spectacle outvying description ! The journeymen and 
apprentices walked — except that number of workmen on the 
platform. St. Crispin Avith his last, St. Andrew with his cross, 
and St. Luke with his gi'idiron, were all included in the show ; 
as were the city officers in their full robes and paraphernalia. 
The guild of merchants being under the especial patronage of 
the Holy Trinity, could not, with all their ingenuity, find out 
any uiiprofane emblem, except a shamrock of huge dimensions ! 
the three distinct leaves whereof are on one stalk. This, by the 
way, offered St. Patrick means of explaining the Trinity, and 
thereby of converting the Irish to Christianity ; and, hence, the 
shamrock became the national emblem of Ireland. The mer- 
chants had also a large ship on wheels, drawn and manned by 

This singular procession I twice witnessed : it has since been 
abolished, after having worked well, and done no harm, from the 
days of the very first lord mayor of Dublin. The city authorities, 
however, began at length to think venison and claret would be 
better things for the same expense ; and so it was decided that 


barrington's personal sketches 

the money should remain in the purse of the corporation, and a 
wretched substitute for the old ceremony was arranged. The 
lord mayor and sheriffs, with some dozen of dirty constables, 
now perambulate these bounds in privacy and silence ; thus de- 
feating, in my mind, the very intention of their charter, and 
taking away a triennial prospective object of great attraction 
and pride to the inhabitants of the metropolis of Ireland, for the 
sole purpose of gratifying the sensual appetites of a city aristo- 
cracy, who court satiety and indigestion at the expense of their 
humbler brethren * 

* This overflow of indignation can scald no one now. 
have passed away, and left not a wreck behind. 

The dirty constables 




Many incidents which, I really think, could not have occurred 
in any country except Ireland, took place there in the year 1798. 
There is something so very different from other people in every 
deed or word of the unsophisticated Irish, that in fact one has 
no right to be surprised, whatever scenes may by them be acted. 

One of these curious occurrences remains even to this day a 
subject of surmise and myster}^ During the rebellion in Coimty 
Wexford in 1798, Mr. Waddy, a violent loyalist, but surrounded 
by a neighbourhood of inveterate insurgents, lied to a castle at a 
considerable distance from the town of Wexford. Though not 
in repair, it was not unfit for habitation ; and might secure its 
tenant from any coup de main of undisciplined insurgents. He 
dreaded discover}^ so much, that he would entrust his place of 
refuge to no person whatsoever ; and, as he conceived, took 
sufficient food to last until he might escape out of the country. 
There was but one entrance to the castle, and that was furnished 
with an old ponderous portcullis, which drew up and let down 
as in ancient fortresses. 

Here Mr. Waddy concealed himseK ; and everj^body was for 
a long time utterly ignorant as to his fate : some said he was 
drowned ; some, burned alive ; others, murdered and buried in 
ploughed ground ! but whilst each was willing to give an 
opinion as to the mode of his destruction, no one supposed him 
to be still aHve. At length, it occuned to certain of his friends 
to seek him through the country ; with which ^iew they set out, 
attended by an armed body. Their search was in vain, imtil 
approaching by chance the old castle, they became aware of a 
stench, which the seekers conjectured to proceed from the putrid 
corpse of murdered Waddy. On getting nearer, this opinion was 

VOL. I. L 


baerington's peesonal sketches 

confirmed ; for a dead body lay half within and half without 
the castle, which the descent of the portcullis had cut nearly into 
equal portions. Poor Mr. Waddy was deeply lamented ; and, 
though with great disgust, they proceeded to remove that half of 
the carcase which lay outside the entrance, when, to their infinite 
astonishment, they perceived that it was not Waddy, but a 
neighbouring priest, who had been so expertly cut in two ; how 
the accident had happened, nobody could surmise. They now 
rapped and shouted, but no reply ; Waddy, in good truth, lay 
close within, supposing them to be rebels. At length, on ven- 
turing to peep out, he discovered his friends, whom he joyfully 
requested to raise, if possible, the portcullis, and let him out, as 
he was almost starved to death. 

This, with difficulty, was effected, and the other half of the 
priest was discovered immediately within the entrance, but by 
no means in equally good condition with that outside ; inasmuch 
as it appeared that numerous coUops and beef-steaks had been 
cut off the reverend gentleman's hind quarters by Waddy, who, 
early one morning, had found the priest thus divided ; and being 
alike unable to raise the portcullis or get out to look for food 
(certain indeed, in the latter case, of being piked by any of the 
rebels who knew him), he thought it better to feed on the priest, 
and remain in the castle till fortune smiled, than run a risk of 
breaking all his bones by dropping from the battlements — his 
only alternative. 

To the day of Waddy' s death, he could give no collected 
or rational account of this incident ; indeed, so confused had 
his head become in consequence of his critical circumstances, 
that the whole appeared to him ever after as a dream or vision 
quite beyond his comprehension. 

The foregoing, though among the most curious, is but one 
of the extraordinary occurrences of that dreadful insurrection 
— some of which tend to strengthen my superstitious feeling, 
which is, I confess, very deep-rooted, as also is my conviction, 
that " whatever is, is right." Scarcely any except the fortunate 
will, I suppose, be ready to join me in the latter notion, though 



in the former I am aware I have many associates, particularly 
amongst old women and h}"pochondriacs. I am, it is true, per- 
petually laughed at for both, by clever ladies and strong-minded 
gentlemen, but still think proper to retain my own impressions. 

I will detail the following circumstance in illustration of 
these principles. It took place immediately previous to the 
breaking out of the rebellion. 

I dined at the house of Lady Colclough (a near relative of 
Lady Barrington), in the town of Wexford, in April 1798. The 
company, so far as I recoUect, consisted of about seventeen 
persons, amongst whom were several other of Lady B.'s relatives, 
then members of the grand jury — Mr. Cornelius Grogan of 
Johnstown, a gentleman of very large fortune who had repre- 
sented the county ; his two brothers, both wealthy men ; Cap- 
tain Keogh, afterwards rebel governor of AVexford, the husband 
of Lady B.'s aunt ; the unfortunate John Colclough of Tintern, 
and the stdl more unfortunate ^Ir. Colclough ; Counsellor John 
Beauman ; Counsellor Bagenal Harvey, afterwards the rebel 
generalissimo ; ^Ir. William Hatton, and some others. The 
convei^ation after dinner, turning on the distracted state of the 
country, became rather too free, and I begged some of the 
party to be more moderate, as our ways of thinking were so 
different, and my public situation did not permit me, especially 
at that particular period, to hear such strong language ; the 
loyalists amongst us did not exceed four or five. 

The tone of the conversation was soon lowered, but not 
before I had made up my mind as to the probable fate of several 
in company, though I certainly had no idea that, in little more 
than a month, a sanguinary rebellion would desolate my native 
land, and violent deaths, within three months, befall a great pro- 
portion of that joyous assemblage. I had seen enough, however, 
to convince me that all was not right ; and that, by plunging 
one step further, most of my relatives and friends would be in 
imminent danger. The party, however, broke up ; and next 
morning Mr. Beauman and myself, happening to meet on the 
bridge, talked over the occurrences of the previous day, uniting 


barrington's personal sketches 

in opinion as to the inauspicious aspect of things, and actually 
proceeding to make out a list of those amongst the dinner-party 
whom we considered likely to fall victims. It so turned out 
that every one of our predictions was verified. It was superficial 
observation alone that led me to think as I did at that moment, 
but a decided presentiment of what eventually happened soon 
after took possession of me ; and, indeed, so full was I of fore- 
bodings, that I have more than once been roused out of my 
sleep by the horrid ideas then floating through my mind. 

Bagenal Harvey, already mentioned, who had been my 
school-felLow and constant circuit-companion for many years, 
laughed, at Lady Colclough's, at my political prudery ; assured 
me I was totally wrong in suspecting him ; and insisted on my 
going to Bargay Castle, his residence, to meet some old Temple 
friends of ours on the ensuing Monday. 

I accordingly went there to dinner, but that evening proved 
to me one of great uneasiness, and made a very disagreeable im- 
pression on my mind and spirits. The company I met included 
my relation. Captain Keogh ; the two unfortunate Counsellors 
Sheares, who were both hanged shortly afterwards ; Mr. Col- 
clough, who was hanged on the bridge ; Mr. Hay, who was also 
executed ; Mr. William Hatton, one of the rebel directory of 
Wexford, who unaccountably escaped ; and a gentleman of the 
bar whose name I shall not mention, as he still lives. 

The entertainment was good, and the party cheerful. Temple 
freaks were talked over ; the bottle circulated ; but, at length, 
Irish politics became the topic, and proceeded to an extent of 
disclosure which utterly surprised me. With the Messrs. 
Sheares, particularly Henry, I had always been on terms of the 
greatest intimacy. Not long before, I had extricated both of 
them from considerable difliculty, through the kindness of Lord 
Kilwarden ; and I had no idea that matters wherein they were 
concerned had proceeded to the lengths developed on that night. 
The probability of a speedy revolt was freely discussed, though 
in the most artful manner. They talked it over as a result 
which might be expected from the complexion of the times and 



the irritation excited in consequence of the severities exercised 
by the government. The chances of success, in the event of a 
rising, were openly debated, as were also the circumstances likely 
to spring from that success, and the examples which the insur- 
gents would in such a case probably make. All this was at the 
same time talked over, without one word being uttered in favour 
of rebellion; a system of caution which, I afterwards learned, 
was much practised for the purpose of gradually making prose- 
lytes mthout alarming them. I saw through it clearly, and here 
my presentiments came strong upon me. I found myself in the 
midst of absolute thougli unavowed conspirators. I perceived 
that the explosion was much nearer than the government ex- 
pected ; and I was startled at the decided manner in which my 
host and his friends spoke. 

Under these circumstances, my alternative evidently was to 
quit the house or give a turn to the conversation. I therefore 
began to laugh at the subject, and ridicule it as quite visionary, 
observing jestingly to Keogh — "Now, my dear Keogh, it is 
quite clear that you and I, in this famous rebellion, shall be on 
different sides of the question ; and of course one or the other of 
us must necessarily be hanged at or before its termination — I 
upon a lamp-u-on in Dublin, or you on the bridge of Wexford. 
Now, we'll make a bargaii;i ! — if we beat you, upon my honour 
I'll do all I can to save your neck ; and- if your folks beat us, 
you'll save me from the honour of the lamp-iron ! " 

We shook hands on the bargain, which created much merri- 
ment, and gave the whole after-talk a cheerful character ; and I 
returned to Wexford at twelve at night, with a most decided 
impression of the danger of the country, and a complete pre- 
sentiment that either myself or Captain Keogh would never see 
the conclusion of that summer. 

I immediately wrote to Mr. Secretary Cooke, without men- 
tioning names, place, or any particular source of knowledge ; 
but simply to assure him that there was not a doubt that an in- 
surrection would break out at a much earlier period than the 
government expected. I desired him to ask me no questions, 


barrington's peesonal sketches 

but said that he might depend upon the fact ; adding that a 
commanding force ought instantly to be sent down to garrison 
the town of Wexford. " If the government," said I in conclu- 
sion, " does not attend to my warning, it must take the conse- 
quences." My warning was not attended to ; but his Majesty's 
government soon found I was right. They lost Wexford, and 
might have lost Ireland, by that culpable inattention. 

The result needs scarcely be mentioned ; every member of 
that jovial dinner-party, with the exception of myself, the bar- 
rister before alluded to, and Mr. Hatton, was executed within 
three months ! On my next visit to Wexford I saw the heads 
of Captain Keogh, Mr. Harvey, and Mr. Colclough, on spikes 
over the court-house door. 

Previously to the final catastrophe, however, when the insur- 
gents had been beaten, Wexford retaken by our troops, and 
Keogh made prisoner, I did not forget my promise to him at 
Bargay Castle. Many certificates had reached Dublin of his 
humanity to the royalists whilst the town of Wexford was under 
his government, and of attempts made upon his life by Dixon, a 
chief of his own party, for his endeavouring to resist the rebel 
butcheries. I had intended to go with these directly to Lord 
Camden, the Lord-Lieutenant ; but I first saw Mr. Secretary 
Cooke, to whom I related the entire story and showed him 
several favourable documents. He told me I might save myself 
the trouble of going to Lord Camden ; and at the same time 
handed me a dispatch received that morning from General Lake, 
who stated that he had thought it necessary, on recapturing 
Wexford, to lose no time in " making examples " of the rebel 
chiefs ; and that accordingly, Mr. Grogan of Johnstown, Mr. 
Bagenal Harvey of Bargay Castle, Captain Keogh, Mr. Col- 
clough, and some other gentlemen, had been hanged on the 
bridge and beheaded the previous morning. 

I felt shocked beyond measure at this intelligence, particu- 
larly as I knew Mr. Cornelius Grogan — an excellent gentleman, 
seventy years of age, of very large fortune and establishments — 
to be no more a rebel than myself. 



I was at all times ready to risk my life to put do^n that 
spirit of mad democracy which sought to subvert all legal insti- 
tutions, and to support every true principle of the constitution 
which protected us ; but, at the same time, I must in truth and 
candour say, and I say it with reluctance, that, during those 
most sanguinary scenes, the brutal conduct of certain frantic 
royalists was at least on a parallel with that of the frantic rebels. 

A short time after the recapture of Wexford, I traversed that 
county, to see the ruins which had been occasioned by warfare. 
Enniscorthy had been twice stormed, and was dilapidated and 
nearly burned. New Koss showed most melancholy relics of the 
obstinate and bloody battle of full ten hours' duration, wliich had 
been fought in every street of it. The numerous pits crammed 
with dead bodies, on Vinegar Hill, seemed on some spots ac- 
tually elastic as we stood upon them ; whilst the walls of an old 
windmill on its summit appeared stained and splashed with the 
blood and brains of the many victims who had been piked or 
shot against it by the rebels. The court-house of Enniscorthy, 
wherein our troops had burned alive above eighty of the wounded 
rebels ; and the barn of Scullabogue, where the rebels had re- 
taliated by burning alive above 120 Protestants, were terrific 
ruins ! The town of Gorey was utterly destroyed, not a house 
being left perfect ; and the bodies of the killed were lying half- 
covered in sundry ditches in its vicinity. It was here that 
Colonel Walpole had been defeated and killed a few days 

* Colonel Walpole was a peculiarly handsome man, an aide-de-camp to Lord 
Camden. As lie had not seen actual service, he begged to be entrusted with some 
command that might give him an opportunity of fighting for a few weeks in the 
County Wexford, and of writing some elegant despatches to his excellency, the 
Lord Lieutenant. The Lord Lieutenant indulged him with a body of troops, and 
sent him to fight in the County Wexford, as he requested ; but on passing the 
town of Gorey, not being accustomed to advanced guards or flankers, he over- 
looked such trifles altogether ; and having got into a defile with some cannon and 
the Antrim regiment, in a few minutes the Colonel was shot through the head — 
the cannon changed masters — and most of the Antrim heroes had each a pike, ten 
or twelve feet long, sticking in his carcase. Sic transit gloria mundi ! — [Author's 


barrington's personal sketches 

An unaccountable circumstance was witnessed by me on that 
tour immediately after tbe retaking of Wexford. General Lake, 
as I have before mentioned, had ordered the heads of Mr. Grogan, 
Captain Keogh, Mr. Bagenal Harvey, and Mr. Colclough, to be 
placed on very low spikes, over the court-house door of Wexford. 
A faithful servant of Mr. Grogan had taken away his head ; but 
the other three remained there when I visited the town. The 
mutilated countenances of friends and relatives, in such a situa- 
tion, would, it may be imagined, give any man most horrifying 
sensations ! The heads of Mr. Colclough and Harvey appeared 
black lumps, the features being utterly undistinguishable ; that 
of Keogh was uppermost, but the air had made no impression on 
it whatever ! His comely and respect-inspiring face, except the 
livid hue, was the same as in life : his eyes were not closed — his 
hair not much ruffled : in fact, it appeared to me rather as a head 
of chiselled marble than the remains of a human creature. I 
prevailed on General Hunter, who then commanded in Wexford, 
to suffer the three heads to be taken down and buried. 




Theobald Wolf Tone was one of the most remarkable of the 
persons who lost their lives in consequence of that wild demo- 
cratic mania, which, at the period treated of in the former sketch, 
had seized upon the reason of so many otherwise sensible indi- 
^'iduals. His catastrophe cannot fail to be interesting. 

This gentleman's enthusiastic mind was eternally surrounded 
by the mist of visionar}' speculation : it was a fine sailer, but 
wanted ballast. He had distininiished himself somewhat in the 


University as a desultorj- declaimer ; but, in my judgment, that 
was the full extent of his powers. He was neither high-bom nor 
wealthy ; I fear even a steady competency was not at his com- 
mand ; and hence his spirit, naturally restless, was additionally 
goaded and inflamed. 

It is a curious cii-cumstance that ^Ir. Tone, a decided revolu- 
tionist and rebel, married, impro^'idently enough, one sister, 
whilst Mr. Thomas Ee}Tiolds, who betrayed the friends of Tone 
and of himseK, espoused another. 

Tone was called to the Irish bar ; but had been previously 
over-rated, and did not succeed. I thought it a pity, as he was 
reaUy a good-hearted person, that he should not be fairly tried, 
and, if possible, pushed forsvard ; and being myself high on the 
circuit, I took him roimd in my carriage three times, and then 
thought well of him ; but he was too light and ^'isionary ; and, 
as for law, was quite incapable of imbibing that species of 
science.* His person was unfavourable ; his coimtenance thin 
and sallow ; and he had in his speech a harsh guttui-al pronun- 
ciation of the letter it — a defect shared by him in common with 

* Whicli does this reflect on ; the comprehension of Tone or the incomprehen- 
sibility of legal science ? Let the lawyers themselves decide. 


baerington's personal sketches 

Mr. Croker, of the Admiralty, wlio indeed resembled him in per- 
sonal appearance greatly, but was somewhat Tone's inferior in 

It is my belief that Tone could not have succeeded in any 
steady civil profession. He was not worldly enough, nor had he 
sufiicient common sense for his guidance. His biography has 
been repeatedly published, and I only intend here to allude to 
the extraordinary circumstances of his death ; an event upon 
which I confess I had many painful feelings, and not the less so 
from its being connected with my own judicial functions. 

He had been taken in arms by Sir J ohn Borlase Warren, at 
sea, in a French frigate, proceeding to land troops in Ireland. 
He wore the uniform of a French officer ; but being recognised, 
brought prisoner to Dublin, and delivered over for trial to the 
provost-marshal and military authorities, he was of course con- 
demned to be hanged. I did not see him under these distressing 
circumstances, nor in truth was it my wish to do so ; for although 
there existed between us no actual friendship, stiU I had a strong 
feeling for a gentleman with whom I had been so well acquainted. 

It occurred to his counsel that the jurisdiction of martial law 
could not extend to him, as it only operated on land, and he had 
been taken at sea. An application was therefore made to the 
Common Pleas, to have him brought up by Habeas Corpus, in 
order (the point being ascertained) to be regularly tried before 
the competent tribunal, the court of Admiralty. The Habeas 
Corpus being granted, was served on General Craig, who then 
commanded in Dublin, but who refused to obey it, and was 
attached for his disobedience ; an order being consequently made 
for the general and some of his staff to be taken into custody by 
the officers of the court. 

To me, as Judge of the Admiralty, this appeal was most dis- 
tressing. Had Tone the least chance of escape in any court, or 
upon any trial, it might have been otherwise; but he could not 
be defended ; and to have him brought before me only to witness 
his conviction, and to pronounce his sentence, shocked me ex- 
tremely. His friends thought this course might prolong his fate 



a considerable time, and it was supposed that something might 
intermediately occur calculated to effect a commutation of the 
capital pimishment. I knew better ! I was convinced that his 
execution was determined on : it was unavoidable, and I felt 
great uneasiness. 

The court having ordered General Craig, and INIajor Sandys, 
provost-marshal, to be arrested for disobedience, both these gen- 
tlemen submitted, and the pursuivant was then directed to bring 
up the body of Theobald "Wolf Tone, on the wTit of Habeas 
Corpus. The judges sat patiently awaiting the officer's return ; 
and the decision being of gi^eat importance, the court was .crowded 
to suffocation. 

A considerable time elapsed, and still the pursuivant returned 
not. A length he appeared, with horror in his looks, and scarcely 
able to speak. He informed the court that Mr. Tone, feeling 
certain of execution by order of the military, and being ignorant 
of the motion which his friends thought might give him some 
chance for his life, had cut his throat from ear to ear, and, 
he believed, was dying ! A surgeon now attended, who re- 
ported that the prisoner had certainly cut his throat, but that 
recovery was possible : the incision was long and deep, but had 
missed the artery, and he still lived. Of course, the trial was 
postponed ; every friend he had (and I think he had many 
amongst the bar) rejoicing that poor Tone had escaped a public 
execution. He lingered awhile ; and will it be believed, that 
when the wound had been connected, and whilst life still seemed 
to be precarious, owing to the extreme inflammation ; I say will it 
be believed that there existed cruelty sufficient in the breast of 
any human creature to advise his execution, although it would 
have been impossible to put the sentence in force without insert- 
ing the rope within the wound, and nearly tearing away the 
unfortunate gentleman's head from his body ? Yet such advice 
was given, for " the sake of example ; " but rejected, I am happy 
to say, with horror ! I will spare the man who gave it the igno- 
miny which would thence attach to his name were it mentioned. 


baekington's personal sketches 


In 1803 I had become particularly popular in Dublin. I was 
not at enmity with any sect or any party. The losses and depri- 
vations which the citizens of Dublin were suffering in conse- 
quence of the Union brought to their recollection the fact of my 
having been one of its most zealous opponents. They knew that 
I had entertained professional ambition ; and they also knew 
that, in order to oppose that measure, and support the inde- 
pendence of the nation as well as my own, I had with open eyes 
sacrificed all the objects of my ambition ; that I had refused the 
most gratifying proposals ; and, in maintenance of principle, had 
set my face decidedly against the measures of that government 
which I had on other occasions supported, and which alone 
possessed the power to advance me. They knew that I had braved 
the animosity of Chancellor Clare, whom few had ever ventured 
to oppose so decidedly as myself; and that I had utterly re- 
nounced Lord Castlereagh, by whom all means were employed 
to attach me. In fact, the citizens of Dublin recollected that I 
had abandoned every prospect in life to uphold their interest ; 
and consequently many persons on both sides of politics had 
proposed to me to become a candidate for the representation of 
the metropolis in parliament. Some entire corporations voted me 
their freedom and support ; and a great number of the freeholders 
tendered me their aid. Having, in addition, an extensive personal 
interest of my own, I at length determined to stand the contest. 

Persons of the first weight and rank came forward in my 
favour ; and amongst these I am proud to enumerate his Grace 
the Duke of Leinster, Mr. Grattan, Mr. George Ponsonby, Mr. 
Curran, and Mr. Plunket ; several of the most respectable mem- 
bers of my own profession, and many private gentlemen. Indeed, 



the mode wherein I was brought forward, and the parties by 
whom I was encouraged, could not but gratify me highly. 

The city, however, immediately diAided into two inveterate 
factions, one of which declared for ^Ir. Beresford, the banker, and 
Mr. Ogle, the Orange chieftain ; whilst the other supported !Mr. 
Latouche and myself. A fifth gentleman. Sir John Jervoise 
White Jers'oise, Bart., also announced himself a candidate, on 
the strength of liis own personal connections and individual pro- 
perty in the city, backed by any second votes he could pick up 
amongst the rest. 

Dublin differs from London in this respect — inasmuch as, 
there must be an individual canvass requiring hard labour of at 
least two months or ten weeks, by day and by night, to get 
through it cleverly. One custom alone takes up an immensity 
of time, which, though I believe it never existed an}'where else, 
has good sense to recoromend it. Tlie grand corporation of 
Dublin comprises twenty-five minor corporations or trades, each 
independent of the other ; and all (knowing their own importance 
previous to an election, and their insignificance after it is over) 
affect the state and authority of a Venetian senate, and say 
shrewdly enough — " How can we, ignorant men ! tell who is 
fittest to represent Dublin till we have an opportunity of know- 
ing their abilities?" For the purpose of acquiring this know- 
ledge, each corporation appoints a day to receive the candidates 
in due formality in its hall ; and each candidate is then called 
on to make an oration, in order to give the electors power of 
judging as to his capabilit}' to speak in parliament. So that, in the 
progress of his canvass, every candidate must make twenty-four 
or twenty-six speeches in his best style ! Xothing can be more 
amusing than the gra^-ity and decorum, wherewith the journey- 
men barbers, hosiers, skinners, cooks, etc. etc., receive the can- 
didates, listen to their fine florid harangues, and then begin to 
debate amongst themselves as to their comparative merits ; and, 
in truth, assume as much importance as the diplomatists at 
Vienna, with intentions to the full as good ! 

However, I got through my canvass of nearly three months. 


bareington's personal sketches 

and remained tolerably in my senses at the conclusion of it ; 
though, most undoubtedly, I drank as much porter and whisky 
with the electors themselves, and as much tea and cherry-brandy 
with their wives, as would have ended my days on any other 
occasion. But I loved the people of Dublin ; I had lived more 
than thirty years amongst them ; was upon good terms with all 
parties and societies ; and, if elected, I should have been a very 
faithful, and I trust, an effective representative. 

The humours of an Irish canvass can only be known to those 
who have witnessed them ; and, I believe, no election, even in 
Ireland, ever gave rise to more of what is termed real fun. Most 
of the incidents are too trivial and too local for detail ; but there 
were some so ludicrous, that, even at this moment, I can scarce 
refrain from laughing at their recollection, 

Never was a business of the kind conducted with more 
spirit ; and, at the same time, a degree of good temper pre- 
vailed, not to have been expected in a contest which called into 
play the most fiery and rancorous party feelings ; and the 
genuine stream of hu.mour, that steadily flowed on, had a great 
effect in washing away any marks of ill blood. It is with pride 
I relate that the four voters who formed my first tally were — Mr. 
George Ponsonby (afterwards Lord Chancellor), Mr. Henry 
Grattan, Mr. William Plunket (the present Attorney-General),'" 
and Mr. John Philpott Curran ; and that the two former accom- 
panied their votes by far more than merited eulogies. 

I lost the election ; but I polled to the end of the fifteen 
days, and had the gratification of thinking that I broke the knot 
of a virulent ascendency, was the means of Mr. Latouche's suc- 
cess, and likewise of Mr. Grattan's subsequent return. 

In the course of that election many curious incidents oc- 
curred ; and as everything which relates to Mr. Grattan, and 
tends to elucidate the character and peculiarities of that most 

* Afterwards Lord Plunket and Lord Chancellor : a man equal in strength 
and energy to Brougham ; more fertile in imagination ; and of nicer skill in 
the details of composition. As polished as an antique marble, he had all its sjrm- 
metry, development, and dignity. 



pure and eminent of my countrymen, must necessarily be inte- 
resting, I feel myself justified in detailing a few anecdotes, 
though in themselves of no particular importance. 

In the days of unsophisticated patriotism, when the very 
name of Grattan operated as a spell to rouse the energies and 
spirit of his country ; when the schisms of party bigotry had 
yielded to the common weal, and pubUc men obtained that 
public gratitude which they merited ; the corporation of Dublin 
in some lucid interval of the sottish malady which has ever 
distinguished that inconsiderate and intemperate body, obtained 
a full-length portrait of Henry Grattan, then termed their great 
deliverer. His name graced their corporate rolls as a heredi- 
tary freeman,* when the jealous malice of that rancorous and 
persevering enemy of every man opposed to him, the Earl of 
Clare, in a secret committee of the House of Lords, introduced 
into their report some lines of a deposition by one Hughes, a 
rebel who had been made a witness, and was induced to coin 
evidence to save his own life, detailing a conversation wliich he 
alleged himself to have had with Mr. Grattan, wherein the latter 
had o^^^led tliat he was a United Irishman. EverA'body knew 
the total falsity of tliis. Indeed, Mr. Grattan was a man whose 
principles had been on certaia occasions considered too aristo- 
cratic ; and yet he was now denounced, in the slang of the Lord 
Chancellor, " an infernal democrat" The corporation of Dublin 
caught the sound, and, without inquiiy, tore down from their 
walls the portrait which had done them so much honour, and 
expelled Grattan from the corporation without trial or notice. 

On the election in question, I was proposed by Mr. George 
Ponsonby, and upon Mr. Grattan rising next to vote upon my 
tally, he was immediately objected to as having been expelled on 
the report of Lord Clare's committee. A burst of indignation on 
the one side, and of boisterous declamation on the other, forth- 
with succeeded. It was of an alarming nature : Grattan mean- 
while standing silent, and regarding, with a smile of the most 

* Mr. Grattan 's father had been recorder of Dublin, and representative in par- 
liament for that city. — [Author's note.) 


barrington's personal sketches 

ineffable contempt ever expressed, his shameless accusers. The 
objection was made by Mr. John Giffard, of whom hereafter. 
On the first intermission of the tnmult, with a calm and digni- 
fied air, but in that energetic style and tone so peculiar to him- 
self, Mr. Grattan delivered the following memorable words — 
memorable, because conveying in a few short sentences the most' 
overwhelming philippic — the most irresistible assemblage of 
terms imputiag public depravity, that the English, or, I believe, 
any other language, is capable of affording : — 

" Mr. Sheriff, when I observe the quarter from whence the 
objection comes, I am not surprised at its being made ! It pro- 
ceeds from the hired traducer of his country — the excommuni- 
cated of his fellow-citizens — the regal rebel — the unpunished 
ruffian — the bigoted agitator ! In the city a firebrand — in the 
court a liar — in the streets a bully — in the field a coward ! 
And so obnoxious is he to the very party he wishes to espouse, 
that he is only supportable by doing those dirty acts the less vile 
refuse to execute."* 

Giffard, thunderstruck, lost his usual assurance, and replied, 
in one single sentence, " I would spit upon him in a desert !" — 
which vapid and unmeaning exclamation was his sole retort ! 

I called for the roll, and, on inspection, Mr. Grattan's name 
appeared never to have been erased. Of course, the objection 
was overruled : my friend voted, and his triumph was complete. 

The erasure of his name from the roll was never afterwards 
attempted ; and, on the dissolution of that parliament, he was 
requested by the very same body to stand forward as their 
"most illustrious countryman," and elected by acclamation in 
that very same court-house, as the representative of the city and 
corporation which had so recently endeavoured to debase and 
destroy him. His chairing was attended with enthusiasm by 
those who some time before would with equal zeal have attended 

* I confess that a tempest of this quality sings in my ear very un appro vedly. 
I do not wonder at a regal rebel, nor am I terrified by an unpunished rufiian ; a 
court liar is no monster of a curiosity ; and a street bully is but a "juvenile 
offender." The ears of the groundlings, however, must be split ; and Grattan 
was a great thunderbolt. This must not be taken in a disparaging sense. 



his execution. Never was there exhibited a more complete proof 
of causeless popular versatility ;* which, indeed, was repeatedly 
practised on that real patriot. 

jNlr. John Giflard, the subject of the foregoing pliilippic, was 
a very remarkable person. He had a great deal of vulgar talent ; 
a daring impetuosity ; and was wholly indifferent to opinion. 
From fii^t to last he fought liis way through the world ; and 
finally worked himself up to be the most sturdy partisan I ever 
recollect in the train of government. His detestation of the 
Pope and his adoration of King William he carried to an excess 
quite ridicidous ; in fact, on both subjects he seemed occasionally 

I did not agree with Mr. Grattan as to all the epithets 
wherewith he honoured the captain. "A coward" he most cer- 
tainly was not. With all his faults, or crimes if they should be 
called so, he had several qualities which in social intercourse are 
highly valuable. He was as warm-hearted and friendly a person 
as I ever met with ; and, on the other hand, a bitterer enemy 
never existed : I don't think he ever was mine. 

Giffard was originally an apothecary. AATien I was at the 
Dublin University the students were wild and lawless ; any 
offence to one was considered as an offence to all ; and as the 
elder sons of most men of rank and fortune in Ireland were then 
educated in Dublin College, it was dangerous to meddle with so 
powerful a set of students, who consequently did precisely what 
they chose outside the college-gates. If they conceived offence 
against any body, the collegians made no scruple of bringing the 
offender into the court, and pumping him well ; and their una- 
nimity and numbers were so great, that it was quite impossible 
any youth could be selected for punishment. In my time, we 
used to break open what houses we pleased ! — regularly beating 
the watch every night, except in one parish, which we always 
kept in pay, to lend us their poles wherewith to fight the others. 
In short, our conduct was outrageous ; and the first check we 

* It was a sad trial for one of the greatest and best of men that ever adorned 
a nation's annals. 

VOL. I. M 


baeeington's personal sketches 

ever received was from Giffard, wlio was a director of the watch, 
and kept a shop close to the Parliament House. 

Having in some way annoyed the collegians, he was con- 
demned to the pump ; but he intrenched himself in his house, 
which we assailed, breaking all the windows. He gave us re- 
peated warnings to no purpose ; and on a new assault being 
commenced, fired a pistol. A collegian was wounded in the 
wrist, whereupon the besiegers immediately retired from the 

It was a lucky shot for Giffard, who immediately obtained 
some parochial office for his firmness ; made himself of import- 
ance on every trifling subject, and harangued constantly in the 
vestry. Of his subsequent progress I know nothing till about 
the year 1790, when I became a public character, and found 
Giffard an attache to the Castle in divers capacities. He was 
afterwards placed in the revenue department, became a common- 
councilman, and at length high-sheriff; at which epoch he 
acquired the title which forsook him not, of " The Dog in Office,'' 
though wherefore I could never rightly make out. His acts 
from that period became part of the general statistical history of 
Irish politics. One of his sons was butchered in cool blood by 
the rebels at Kildare, which naturally increased his ferocity. 
His eldest son, Harding Giffard, and Mr. Croker of the Ad- 
miralty, married two sisters in Waterford. Mr. Croker's 
good luck enabled him to aid his relative, who, having tried 
the Irish Bar in vain for several years, became Chief-Justice of 

During the election we are speaking of, one Horish, a master 
chimney-sweeper, appeared on the hustings. This man, being 
known to have several votes at command besides his own, had 
been strongly canvassed, but would promise neither of the can- 
didates, nor give the least hint how he intended to vote. 

During the rebellion of 1798 Mr. John Beresford, one of the 
candidates, had built a riding-house for his yeomanry troop, 
which had been also much used as a place for whipping sus- 
pected persons in, to make them discover what in all proba- 



bility they never knew — a practice equally just and humane, 
and liberally resorted to by military officers pending that troub- 
lous era. 

In Mr. Beresford's riding-house this infernal system was car- 
ried on to a greater extent than in any of the similar slaughter- 
houses then tolerated in the metropolis. To such an extent, 
indeed, that some Irish wags had one night the words, " JNIangling 
done here by J. Beresford and Co." painted upon a sign-board, 
and fixed over the entrance. 

It happened that this same Horish had been amongst those 
who had paid to their king and country a full share of skin for 
the crime of being suspected. He had not forgotten the couple 
of hundred lashes on his bare carcass which he had received in 
Mr. Beresford's riding-house : but the circumstance was, as a 
thing of an ordinary nature, totally forgotten by the candidate. 

Horish, a coarse, rough-looking, strong-built, independent, 
and at the moment well-dressed brute of a fellow, remained quite 
coquettish as to his votes.* " Let me see !" said he, feeling his 
importance, and unwilling to part with it (which would be the 
case the moment he had polled), and looking earnestly at aU the 
candidates, — " Let me see ! who shall I vote for ? — I'm very 
hard to please, gentlemen, I assure you !" He hesitated ; we all 
pressed : — " Fair and easy, gentlemen," said Horish, looking at 
each of us again, " don't hurry a man !" 

" Barrington," cried impatient Beresford, " I know that honest 
fellow Horish will vote for me ! " Horish stared, but said nothing. 

"Indeed, he wiU not," replied I, "eh, Horish?" Horish 
looked, but remained silent. 

" I'll lay you a rump and dozen," exclaimed Beresford, " on 
the matter." 

Horish now started into a sort of animation, but coolly replied, 
— " You'll lose that same rump and dozen, Mr. Beresford ; 'twas 
many a dozen you gave me already in the riding-house, and to 
the de^dl I bob that kind of entertainment ; but if ever I have the 
honour of meeting you up a chimney, depend on it, Mr. Beresford, 

* Sir Jonah uses a heavy brush, but in general very good colours. 


bakrington's personal sketches 

111 treat you with, all the civility imaginable 1 Come, boys, we'll 
poll away for the counsellor !" and I was supported, I believe, by 
every chimney-sweeper in the city of Dublin, and they were 
many, who had votes * 

* Sam. Lover said that Barrington did not give the sweep's name right : — 
" 'Twas Borish, or should 




It is to be lamented that the biographers and eulogists of 
Eichard Brinsley Sheridan should have suppressed some of the 
most creditable incidents of his variegated life, whilst his memory 
is disgi'aced by pretended friends and literary admirers* 

These \^Titers have raked up from his ashes, and exposed to 
public indignation,! every failing of that great and gifted man ; 
so that, if their own productions were by any chance to become 
permanent, they would send him dowTi to posterity as a witty, 
but low and dissipated sharper ; or, in their very best colouring, 
as the most talented + of mean and worthless mendicants. 

Amongst the incidents that have been overlooked is one both 
extraordinaiy and melancholy, and forming an honourable com- 
ment on Mr. Sheridan's public character. 

In speaking thus, I deeply regi^et that one of his cruel bio- 
graphers should be a man whom I esteem ; and I regret it the 
more, since he has used poor Sheridan as a chopping-block, 
whereon to hack the character of the most illustrious person of 
the British Empire, who has been accused oi pecuniary illiherality. 
A cii-cumstance accidentally came to my knowledge to disprove 
the charge. 

On the general election of 1808, Mr. John Colclough of 
Tintern Abbey, Coimty Wexford, a near relative of mine, and 
locum tcium of his elder brother, ^Ir. Ca3sar Colclough, who had 
been long resident on the Continent, declared himseK for the 

* It is still more to be lamented that the records of his wit are so meagre. 
What Mick Kelly lias gathered, who had been his daily intimate for thirty years, 
would scarcely fill thirty pages, and not fill them well. 

t Thanks to Future Justice^ the best of all divinities, his virtues survive, and 
his failings are forgiven. 

X This villanous word is not yet English. 


bareington's personal sketches 

second time candidate for Wexford County, which he had repre- 
sented in the previous parliament. The Colclough estates were 
large, the freeholders thereon numerous, and devoted to the in- 
terest of their patriotic leader, whose uncle, Mr. John Grogan, of 
Johnstown Castle, also a relative of mine, possessed of a very 
large fortune and extensive tenantry, had united with his nephew 
and other most respectable and independent gentlemen of that 
county, to liberate its representation from the trammels of certain 
noblemen who had for many years usurped its domination. Mr. 
Colclough was determined to put the pride, spirit, and patriotism 
of the county to proof, and therefore proposed Mr. Eichard Brin- 
sley Sheridan as joint-candidate with himself, declaring that he 
was authorised by the independent freeholders of the county to 
say that they should feel the greatest gratification in being 
represented by so distinguished an ornament to the name of 

Mr. Colclough and Mr. Sheridan were therefore nominated 
on the one hand ; and Mr. Alcock, supported by the interest of 
the influenced electors, on the other. 

Never yet was any poll conducted by more resolute, active, 
and zealous partisans, but it is lamentable to add that they were 
equally intemperate as zealous. The flame of patriotism had 
caught the mass of the population ; tenants no longer obeyed the 
dictates of their absent landlords nor the menaces of tyrannic 
agents : no man could count on the votes of his former vassals. 
The hustings was thronged with crowds of tenantry, constitu- 
tionally breaking away from their shackles, and voting according 
to their principles of free agency for Sheridan, a man known to 
them only by the celebrity of his talents. The poll proceeded : 
the independent party was advancing fast to success ; and had 
the election continued, there is no doubt but that Mr. Sheridan 
would have been a representative for Wexford County. At this 
crisis occurred one of the most unfortunate and melancholy 
events on Irish record, and by which the contest was terminated, 
as if the untoward destiny of Sheridan withered everything that 
came in contact with it. 



Several tenants of a person who had given his interest to 
Mr. Alcock absokitely refused to vote for that gentleman, de- 
claring that at every risk they would support Colclough and 
" the great Sheridan." Mr. Alcock's partisans perverted the free 
agency of these men into seduction on the part of Mr. Colclough : 
hence a feeling decidedly hostile was excited ; the fierce zeal 
and frenz}^ of election partisanship burst into a flame ; and Mr. 
Colclough was required to decline such votes, or to receive them 
at his peril. 

Of course he disregarded this outrageous threat, and open 
war ensued. One party lost sight of reason ; both, of humanity ; 
and it was determined, that before the opening of next morning's 
poll, the candidates should decide, by single combat, the con- 
tested question. With what indignation and horror must such 
a resolution, at once assailing law, good morals, and decency, be 
now regarded ! and how will the feeling of surprise increase from 
its being passed over with impunity !* 

Early on the eventful morning many hundred people as- 
sembled to witness the affair ; and it will scarcely be believed 
that no less than eleven or twelve county justices stood by, pas- 
sive spectators of the bloody scene which followed, without an 
effort, or apparently a wish, to stop the proceeding. 

Both combatants were remarkably near-sighted ; and Mr. 
Alcock determined on wearing glasses, which was resisted by the 
friends of Mr. Colclough, who would wear none. The partisans 
of the former, however, persevered, and he did wear them. The 
ground at length was marked ; the anxious crowd separated on 
either side, as their party feelings led them ; but all seemed to 
feel a common sense of horror and repugnance. The unfeeling 
seconds handed to each principal a couple of pistols ; and placing 
them about eight or nine steps asunder, withdrew, leaving two 
gentlemen of fortune and character — brother-candidates for the 

* The style of this narration is uncommonly tall, and never shrinks from first 
to last. The whole would have been better told in ten lines ; but, as Newton 
said, a good squeeze would put the world into a nutshell : which would be a seri- 
ous hurt to the landed interests. 


baerington's personal sketches 

county — and former friends, nay, intimate companions — standing 
in tlie centre of a field, without any personal offence given or re- 
ceived, encouraged by false friends, and permitted by unwortby 
magistrates, to butcher each other as quickly and as effectually 
as their position and weapons would admit. 

The sight was awful ! — a dead silence and pause ensued ; the 
great crowd stood in motionless suspense ; the combatants pre- 
sented ; men scarcely breathed ; the word was given : Mr. Al- 
cock fired first, and his friend — his companion — one of the best 
men of Ireland, instantly fell forward, shot through the heart ! he 
spoke not — ^but turning on one side, his heart's blood gushed 
forth — his limbs quivered — he groaned and expired. His pistol 
exploded after he was struck — of course without effect. 

The bystanders looked almost petrified. The profound still- 
ness continued for a moment, horror having seized the multitude, 
when, on the sudden, a loud and universal yell, the ancient 
practice of the Irish peasantry on the death of a chieftain, sim- 
ultaneously burst out like a peal of thunder from every quarter 
of the field ; a yell so savage and continuous — so like the tone 
of revenge — that it would have appalled any stranger to the 
customs of the country. Alcock and his partisans immediately 
retreated ; those of Colclough collected round his body ; and 
their candidate (a few moments before in health, spirits, and 
vigour !) was mournfully borne back upon a plank to the town 
of his nativity, and carried lifeless through those very streets 
which had that morning been prepared to signalise his triumph. 

The election-poll, of course, proceeded without further oppo- 
sition. The joint friends of Colclough and Sheridan, deprived 
of their support, and thunderstruck at the event, thought of no- 
thing but lamentation ; and in one hour Mr. Alcock was declared 
duly elected for Wexford County, solely through the death of 
his brother-candidate, whom he had himself that morning un- 
justly immolated. 

A more wanton duel, a more unnecessary, cruel, and in all 
points illegal transaction, never occurred in the United Empire ; 
yet, strange to say, of those eleven or twelve magistrates who 



actually stood by, as amateurs or partisans, in defiance of tlie 
law and of tlieir duty, — not one was displaced or punislied ! — a 
precedent of Lmpunity most discreditable to the high authorities 
of that day, dangerous to the peace of the country, and subver- 
sive of the first principles of free election. Judge of Sheridan's 
feelings on receiving this intelligence ! and judge of the correct- 
ness of his biogi*aphers, who have suppressed the incident* 

isor was poor Colclough's death the last act of the tragedy. 
His friends thought themselves called on to prosecute Mr. Alcock, 
who fled, but subsequently returned and surrendered for trial. 
I attended, as special counsel for the prosecution ; Baron Smith 
tried the cause. The evidence was stronger than I have deemed 
it necessary to recite. The baron stated his opinion on the legal 
distinctions as applicable to duelling, and on that opinion the 
bar diflered. It was not the wish of the prosecutors to do more 
than mark the transaction by a conviction for manslaughter, 
which the law, under the circumstances, seemed to render im- 
perative. However, the then politics of Wexford juries differed 
not unfrequently both from the laws of God and the statute- 
book ; and the verdict returned in this instance was, to the sur- 
prise of everyone, a general acquittal. 

But, alas ! the acquitted duellist suffered more in mind than 
his \4ctim had done in body. The horror of the scene, and the 
solemnity of the trial, combined to make a fatal inroad on his 
reason ! he became melancholy ; liis understanding gradually 
declined ; a dark gloom enveloped his entire intellect ; and an 
excellent young man and perfect gentleman at length sank into 
irrecoverable imbecility. Goaded by the vicious frenzy of elec- 
tion partisans, he had slain liis friend ; and, haunted by reflec- 
tion and sorrow, he ended his own days in personal restraint and 
mental ruin. 

To this fatal duel there was yet another sad sequel. Miss 
Alcock, sister of the member, had been most deeply affected by 
the mournfid catastrophe. She had known Colclough long and 

* How the incident affects Sheridan or his biographers is not discoverable. 
The tale is very illustrative of the times, but rather inconveniently long. 


bakeington's personal sketches 

intimately ; and being an amiable and sensitive young woman, 
her brother's absence, his trial, and his subsequent depression, 
kept the gloomy transaction alive in her mind. She also gTadu- 
ally wasted ; and the death of her brother sinking deeper and 
deeper into a heart, all whose sources of tranquillity had been 
dried up, her reason wandered, and the dreadful fate of her 
friend and of her brother brought her to a premature grave. 

A trivial anecdote will suffice to exhibit the general state of 
Wexford County, and of the aristocracy and magistracy, many of 
whom were a disgrace to their office, and completely filled up 
Mr. Grattan's definition of a " regal rebel," by their arrogance, 
tyranny, oppression, and disaffection. By these men the peasan- 
try were goaded into a belief that justice was banished, and so 
driven into the arms of the avowed rebels, who used every lure 
to enforce their previous delusion. 

A handsome young woman, maid-servant to a Mrs. Lett, who 
was considered as a great patriot in Wexford, happened one 
summer's evening to sit at her mistress's window singing songs, 
but to certain airs that were not considered orthodox by the 

The Marquess of Ely, with the high-sheriff and other gentle- 
men of the county, were retiring after their wine from the grand 
jury, and heard this unfortunate young siren warbling at the 
window ; but as the song sounded to their loyal ears of a rebel- 
lious tendency, it was thought advisable to demolish the fragile 
parts of Mrs. Lett's house- front without delay ; and, accordingly, 
my lord, the high-sheriff, and their friends forthwith commenced 
their laudable undertaking ; and stones being the weapons near- 
est at hand, the windows and the warbling maid received a loyal 
broadside. For this freak the Marquess, whose counsel I was, 
was tried, convicted, and fined. 




The first chief judge who favoured me with his iutimacy was 
Lord Clonmell, chief justice of the King's Bench. I was intro- 
duced to his Lordship's notice through Sir John Tjdd, and 
received from him many instances of kind attention ; and he 
gave me, early in life, some of the very best practical maxims. 
As he was one of the celebrated official " fire-eaters," whom I 
shall hereafter mention, and fought several duels, it may be 
amusing to copy here, from my Historical Memoirs of Ireland, a 
few distinguishing traits of his Lordship. "Mr. Scott never 
omitted one favourable opportimity of ser^-ing himseK. His 
skill was umivalled, and his success proverbial He was full of 
anecdotes, though not the most refined ; these, in private society, 
he not only told but acted ; and, when he perceived that he had 
made a very good exhibition, he immediately withdrew, that he 
might leave the most lively impression of his pleasantry behind 
him. His boldness was his first introduction — his policy, his 
ultimate preferment. Courageous, -v^ulgar, humorous, artificial, 
he knew the world well, and he profited by that knowledge. 
He cultivated the powerful ; he bullied the timid ; he fought 
the brave ; he flattered the vain ; he duped the credulous ; and 
he amused the comivial. Half-liked, haK-reprobated, he was too 
high to be despised, and too low to be respected. His language 
was coarse, and his principles arbitrary ; but his passions were 
his slaves, and his cunning was his instrument. In pubhc and 
in private he was the same character ; and, though a most fortu- 
nate man and a successful courtier, he had scarcely a sincere 
friend or a disinterested adherent." 

His duel with Lord TjTawley was caused and attended by 
circumstances which form a curious narrative. Lady T^Tawley 


baerington's personal sketches 

had an utter dislike for lier husband, then the Honourable James 
Cuffe. They had no children, and she made various efforts to 
induce him to consent to a distinct and total separation. There 
being no substantial cause for such a measure, Mr. Cuffe looked 
upon it as ridiculous, and would not consent. At length the 
lady hit upon an excellent mode for carrying her wishes into 
effect, and ensuring a separate maintenance. 

One day, sobbing and crying, Mrs. Cuffe threw herself before 
her lord, on her knees — went through the usual evolutions of a 
repentant female — and, at length, told her husband that she was 
unworthy of his future protection. She was instantly put into 
a sedan-chair and ordered out of the house to private lodgings, 
until it was the will of her injured lord to send a deed of annuity 
for her support. 

Mr. Cuffe next summoned a friend, and informed him how the 
villain Scott had injured him, as Mrs. Cuffe confessed. A message 
was sent, with an invitation to mortal combat, to the attorney- 
general, urging the lady's confession, and the usual reproaches. 

Mr. Scott, knowing that a declaration of innocence would, by 
the world, be considered either as honourable perjury on his part, 
to save Mrs. Cuffe's reputation, or as a mode of screening himself 
from her husband's vengeance, and in no case be believed even 
by the good-natured part of society, made up his mind for the 

The husband and supposed gallant accordingly met, and ex- 
changed shots : and each party having heard the bullets humanely 
whiz past his ears, Mr. Scott assured his antagonist that he had 
never wronged him, and thought the lady must have lost her 

There was no cause for denying credence to this ; whilst, on 
the other hand, it was but too likely that Mr. Cuffe had been 
tricked by his wife. She was sure of a separation, for he had 
turned her out and, if he had fallen on the field of honour, she 
had a noble jointure ; so that she was in utrumque ])arata — 
secure under every chance. 

On his return, he sent her a most severe reprimand ; and 



announced but a moderate annuity, which she instantly and 
haughtily refused, positiyely declaring that she neyer had made 
any confession of guilt ; that the whole was a scheme of his own 
vicious jealousy, to get rid of her ; and that she had only said 
he might just as well suspect the attorney-general, who had neyer 
said a ciyil thing to her, as anybody else. She dared him to 
prove the least impropriety on her part ; and yet he had cruelly 
turned her out of his house, and proclaimed his innocent wife to 
be a guilty woman. 

!Mr. Cufife saw she had been too many for him, every way ! he 
durst not give more publicity to the affair ; and therefore agreed 
to allow her a very handsome annuity, whereon she lived a happy 
life, and died but a few years since. 

Immediately after I was married, I resided next door to Lord 
Clonmell, in Harcourt Street. He called on me most kindly, 
and took me to walk over his fine gardens and lawn ; and was so 
humorous and entertaining, that his condescension quite delighted 
me ; but I afterwards found out, that he made a point of dis- 
covering every young man likely to succeed in public life, and 
took the earliest moment possible of being so civil as to ensure a 
friend, if not a partisan, and no man wanted the latter more than 
his Lordship. 

" Barrington," said he to me, " you are married !" 

"No doubt," said I, laughingly, "as tight as any person on 
the face of the earth." 

" All women in the world," replied his Lordship, " are fond 
of having their own way." 

" I am firmly of your opinion, my Lord," said I. 

" Now," pursued he, " the manner in which all wives are 
spoiled, is by giving them their o^vn way at first ; for whatever 
you accustom them to at the beginning, they Tvill expect ever 
after : so, mind me ! I'll tell you the secret of ruling a wife, if 
known in time : ' Never do anything for peace-sake ; — if you do, 
you'll never have one hour's tranquillity but by concession, — 
mind that !" 

" I firmly believe it," exclaimed I. 


barrington's personal sketches 

" Well/' said he, "practise it 1" 

Some time after, I met his Lordship at Lamberton, Queen's 
County, the seat of Sir John Tydd. He related the above story, 
and asked me if I had taken his advice. — " ISTo," said I. 

"Why?" inquired his Lordship. 

" Because," replied I, " a philosopher has an easier life of it 
than a soldier!' 

I had the laugh against him, and the more particularly as his 
Lordship had married a second wife, and I believe no husband 
in Ireland adhered less to his own maxim than did Lord Clonmell 
after that union. 



DUKE OF ^at:llixgton and maequess of 


My personal acquaintance with the Duke of Wellington origi- 
nated accidentally, soon after I commenced public life ; and so 
clearly shows the versatility of men, the fallibility of judgment, 
and the total uncertainty of all human prediction, that I cannot 
avoid mentioning it. 

In 1793, when I was in high repute, most prosperous at the 
bar, living in the first ranks of society, a distinguished favourite 
at the viceregal court, and designated as a candidate for the first 
ofi&ces of my profession, I occasionally gave large splendid din- 
ners, according to the habit invariably adopted in those times 
by persons circumstanced like myself. At one of those enter- 
tainments. Major Hobart (Lord Buckinghamshire) ; Sir John 
Parnell ; Isaac Corry ; I think. Lord Limerick ; Sir J ohn (after- 
wards Lord) de Blacquiere ; and Lords Llandaff, Dillon, Yelver- 
ton ; the Speaker ; — in all, upwards of twenty noblemen and 
commoners, did me the honour of partaking my fare. Lord 
Clonmell sent me his two grand cooks, and a most cheerfid. party 
was predicted. The House had sat late that day, and etiquette 
never permitted us to go to dinner, where the Speaker was a guest, 
imtil his arrival, unless he had especially desired us to do so. 

The Speaker did not join us till nine o'clock, when Sir John 
Parnell brought with him, and introduced to me, Captain Welles- 
ley and Mr. Stewart, two young members, who having remained 
in the House, he had insisted on their coming with him to my 
dinner, where he told them good cheer and a hearty welcome 
would be found ; and in this he was not mistaken. 

Captain Arthur WeUesley had, in 1790, been returned to 
parliament for Trim, County Meath, a borough under the patron- 


barrington's personal sketches 

age of his brother, the Earl of Mornington. He was then ruddy- 
faced and juvenile in appearance, and popular enough among 
the young men of his age and station. His address was un- 
polished ; he occasionally spoke in Parliament, but not success- 
fully, and never on important subjects ; and evinced no promise 
of that unparalleled celebrity and splendour which he has since 
reached, and whereto intrepidity and decision, good luck and 
great military science, have justly combined to elevate him. 

Lord Castlereagh was the son of Mr. Stewart, a country 
gentleman, generally accounted to be a very clever man, in the 
north of Ireland. He was a professed and not very moderate 
patriot, and at one time carried his ideas of opposition exceed- 
ingly far, having become a leading member of the Eeform and 
Liberal societies. 

Lord Castlereagh began his career in the Irish Parliament, 
by a motion for a committee to inquire into the representation 
of the people, with the ulterior object of a reform in Parliament. 
He made a good speech and had a majority in the House, which 
he certainly did not expect, and I am sure did not luisli for. He 
was unequal and unwilling to push that point to further trial ; 
the matter cooled in a few days ; and after the next division, 
was deserted entirely. Mr. Stewart, however, after that speech, 
was considered as a very clever young man, and in all points 
well taught and tutored by his father, whose marriage with the 
Marquess of Camden's sister was the remote cause of all his 
future successes — how sadly terminated ! 

At the period to which I allude, I feel confident, nobody 
could have predicted that one of those young gentlemen would 
become the most celebrated English general of his era, and the 
other, one of the most mischievous statesmen and unfortunate 
ministers that ever appeared in modern Europe. However, it is 
observable, that to the personal intimacy and reciprocal friend- 
ship of those two individuals, they mutually owed the extent of 
their respective elevation and celebrity : Sir Arthur Wellesley 
never would have had the chief command in Spain but for the ^ 
ministerial manoeuvring and aid of Lord Castlereagh ; and Lord 



Castlereagh never could have stood his ground as a ministei, but 
for Lord Wellington's successes. 

At my house, the evening passed amidst that glow of well- 
bred, witty, and cordial vinous conviviality, which was, I believe, 
peculiar to high society in Ireland, 

From that night I became rather intimate with Captain 
Wellesley and Mr. Stewart ; and perceived certain amiable quali- 
ties in both, which a change of times, or the intoxication of pros- 
perity, certainly in some degree tended to diminish. Indeed, if 
Lord Wellington had continued until now the same frank, open- 
hearted man, he certainly must have been better proof against 
those causes which usually excite a metamorphosis of himian 
character than any one who had ever preceded him. Still, if 
possible, he would have been a greater man ; at least he would 
have better drawn the distinction between a warrior and a hero 
— terms not altogether syuon^mious. Many years subsequently 
to the dinner-party I have mentioned, I one day met Lord 
Castlereagh in the Strand, and a gentleman with him. His 
Lordship stopped me, whereat I was rather surprised, as we had 
not met for some time ; he spoke very kindly, smiled, and asked 
if I had forgotten my old friend. Sir Arthur AVellesley ? — whom 
I discovered in liis companion ; but looking so sallow and wan, 
and with every mark of what is called a worn-out man, that I 
was truly concerned at his appearance. He soon recovered his 
health and looks, and went as the Duke of Richmond's secretary 
to Ireland ; where he was in all material traits still Sir Arthur 
Wellesley ; but it was Sir Arthur Wellesley judiciously im- 
proved. He had not forgotten his friends, nor did he forget 
himself. He said that he had accepted the office of secretary 
only on the terms that it should not impede or interfere with, his 
military pursuits ; and what he said proved true, for he was 
soon sent, as second in command, with Lord Cathcart to Copen- 
hagen, to break through the law of nations, and execute the most 
distinguished piece of treachery that history records.* 

* This matter is not within the scope of ray observations ; let the readers of 
history or of Grotius settle for themselves. 
VOL. I. N 


bareington's personal sketches 

On Sir Arthur's return he recommenced his duty of secretary ; 
and during his residence in Ireland, in that capacity, I did not 
hear one complaint against any part of his conduct either as a 
public or private man. He was afterwards appointed to com- 
mand in Spain ; an appointment solicited, and I believe expected, 
by Sir John Doyle. It might be entertaining to speculate on 
the probable state of Europe at present, if Sir John had been 
then appointed generalissimo. I do not mean to infer any dis- 
paragement to the talents of Sir John, but he might have 
pursued a different course, not calculated, as in Sir Arthur's 
instance, to have decided, for the time being, the fate of Europe. 

A few days before Sir Arthur's departure for Spain, I re- 
quested him to spend a day with me, which he did. The com- 
pany was not very large, but some of Sir Arthur's military friends 
were among the party ; the late Sir Charles Asgill, the present 
General Meyrick, etc. etc. I never saw him more cheerful or 
happy. The bombardment of Copenhagen being by chance 
started as a topic of remark, I did not join in its praise ; but, on 
the other hand, muttered that I never did nor should approve 
of it. 

" Damn it, Barrington," said Sir Arthur, " why ? what do 
you mean to say?" "I say. Sir Arthur," replied I, "that it 
was the very best devised, the very best executed, and the most 
just and necessary 'robbery and murder' now on record!" He 
laughed, and adjourned to the drawing-room, where Lady B. had 
a ball and supper as a finish for the departing hero. 

In 1815, having been shut up in Paris during the siege, I 
went out to Neuilly to pay a visit to the Duke before our troops 
got into the city. I had not seen him since the last day he 
dined at my own house ; but he had intermediately much 

I knew his Grace when Captain Wellesley — Sir Arthur Wel- 
lesley — Secretary Wellesley — Ambassador Wellesley — and Duke 
of Wellington. In the first stage of this career, I was his equal ; 
in the last, nobody is. However, it is a fine reflection for the 
contemporaries of great people, that it will be " all the same a 



hundred yeai-s hence ! " and heroes, diplomatists,* etc., must 
either become very good-tempered feUows when they meet in 
the Elysian fields, or — there must be a very strong police to 
keep them in order. 

I was present in one of the French chambers when the 
question of capitulation was discussed ; and most undoubtedly 
Marshal Xey supported that measure upon the basis of a 
general amnesty. On any other, it never would have been 
listened to ; the battle would have taken place early next morn- 
ing ; and the Duke of Wellington would have had to contest 
the most sanguinary and desperate engagement of liis day with 
a numerous and well-appointed army, frantic with zeal to re- 
venge their disgrace at Waterloo. This I know ; for I was 
(truly against the grain) kept more than twelve houi-s in the 
midst of it at Vilette, two days before the capitulation. Of this, 
more wiU be seen in the last volume. I cannot but remark, 
that if Ney had been pardoned, and the horses not sent to 
Venice, the spirit of the capitulation would have been more 
strictly adhered to. 

I must be rightly understood respecting Lord Londondeny, 
to whom, indi^*idually, I never had the slightest objection. As 
a private gentleman, I always found him friendly, though cold ; 

* The following unpublished lines, by one of the most talented young ladies 
I ever met, depict the frivolity and short-lived nature of human vanities more 
forcibly than a hundred sermons : — 

" The kingdoms of the world have pass'd away, 
And its strong empires moulder'd into dust, 
Swift as the changes of a jwet's dream : 
And kings and heroes, and the mighty minds 
Whose hopes circled eternity, and seized 
The stars as their inheritance, and grew 
Too big for mortal frames — until they sank 
Into the narrow bounds of nature : — 
These are the things which, even nameless now, 
Are on the earth forgot — or, if retain 'd. 
Of power, of life, and motion all bereft !" — (Author's note.) 

As the admirers of poetry will discover enough sublimity in this to coudone 
for the misplaced accent, I cannot reject it. 


barrington's personal sketches 

and fair, tlioiigh ambiguous.'"" I never knew him break his 
word, and believe him to have been perfectly honourable upon 
every subject of private interest. But here my eulogy must 
close ; for, with regard to public character, his Lordship must, I 
fear, be pronounced corrupt. When determined on a point, 
nothing could stop him. In Ireland, his career was distinguished 
by public bribery and palpable misrepresentations ; of which 
assertion, had I not indisputable and ample proof, I would not 
hazard it. 

Mr. Pelham, now Earl of Chichester, was secretary to Lord 
Camden when Lord Lieutenant. I had the good fortune and 
pleasure to be on very friendly terms with this amiable and en- 
gaging gentleman, and have seldom met any public personage I 
liked so well. I found him moderate, honourable, sufficiently 
firm and sufficiently spirited ; and had a real gratification in 
attaching myself not only to his measures, but to his society. 
In all our intercourse, which ceased with his departure, I found 
him candid and just, and experienced at his hands several public 
acts of kindness. 

Mr. PeUiam's parliamentary talents were not of a splendid 
order. . The people of Ireland never required stars for ministers ; 
but a fair and candid secretary was a great treat to them, and 
Mr. Pelham was making full way in public estimation. The 
last day I ever saw him in Ireland, he and his brother-in-law, 
Lord Sheffield, did me the favour of dining with me in Merrion 
Square. I perceived he was uncommonly dull, and regretted 
the circumstance much ; he obviously grew worse, at length laid 
his head upon the table, and when he departed was extremely 
ill. N^ext day he was in a violent fever, his life was long 
despaired of, he recovered with difficulty, and, on his recovery, 
returned to England. Mr. Stewart, by marriage the Lord Lieu- 
tenant's nephew, was named as locum tenens during Mr. Pelham's 
absence ; or, should he not return, until the appointment of 
another secretary. But he was soon discovered by his employers 
to be fit for any business ; and as it had been long in the secret 

* This slips through my meshes. 



contemplation of the British ministry to extinguish the Irish 
Parliament, either by fraud or force ; and Lord Camden being 
considered too inactive, perhaps too conscientious and honour- 
able, to resort to either of those weapons, it was determined to 
send over an old servant-of-all-work. This person, Lord Corn- 
wallis, with the assistance of his young secretary, would stop at 
nothing necessary to effect the purpose, and they could, between 
them, carry a measiu^e which few other persons, at that period, 
durst have attempted. 

These fragments are not intended as political episodes. The 
result of that coalition everybody knows. I shall only state so 
much of the transaction as relates to my own individual con- 
cerns. I had an intersdew with Lord Castlereagh, some time 
after he came into office, at Mr. Cooke's chambers. He told me 
he imderstood I expected to be the next solicitor-general, and 
had applied for the office. I answered, that I not only expected 
as much, but considered myself, under all circumstances, entitled 
to that preferment. He and Mr. Cooke both said, " Yes ;" and 
recommended me to make " my party good with Lord Clare," 
who had expressed " no indisposition " to the appointment. 
Had I not been supposed to be of some use to the government, 
I do not doubt but Lord Clare would have preferred many other 
more subservient gentry of my profession. But he knew that 
although Lord Westmorland, on leaving Ireland, had made no 
express stipulation, he had subsequently gone as far as he could 
with Lord Camden, for my promotion. Lord Clare played me 
off cleverly until, in the month of August 1799, I was sent for 
in private by the secretary, Edward Cooke, who had been a 
particular confidential fiiend of mine for several years. Having 
first enjoined secrecy as to our conference, he told me that a 
measure of great import had been under consideration in the 
English Cabinet, and might possibly be acted on ; and then 
proceeding to acquaint me that Lord Clare had made no ob- 
jection to my promotion, he asked in so many words if I would 
support the " question of ' a union,' if it should be brought 
forward ?" I was struck as if by a shot ! I had no idea of such 



a thing being now seriously contemplated, although I had often 
heard of it as a measure suggested in 1763. My mind had 
never any doubts upon the degrading subject, all thoughts 
whereof had been considered as banished for ever by the volun- 
teers of 1782. I therefore replied at once, " N'o, never ! " — 
" You'll think better of it, Barrington ! " said he. Never, 
by — ! " rejoined I ; " never ! " and the discussion was dropped, 
nor did I confide it to any save one individual, who differed 
with me very much, at least as to the mode of refusal. 

I was determined, however, to know how the matter really 
stood ; and without touching on the late conversation, desired to 
be apprised whether they preserved the intention of appointing 
me solicitor-general. I received no other answer than the follow- 
ing letter from Lord Castlereagh, without any explanation ; but 
it was enveloped in a very long one from Mr. Cooke, headed, 
strictly private and therefore of course still remaining so. 

September 7, 1799. 
"My dear Sir — I am directed by his excellency the Lord 
Lieutenant to assure you, that he would be glad to avail himself 
of any proper opportunity of complying with your wishes ; and 
that he regrets much he is at present so particularly circum- 
stanced, with respect to the office of solicitor-general, that he 
feels it impossible to gratify your desire as to that appointment. 
I should, myself, have been very happy had I been able to com- 
municate to you a more favourable result. — Dear sir, yours very 
sincerely. Castlereagh." 

I never had anything more to do with the successive govern- 
ments of Ireland,* and have used all forbearance in giving my 
opinion of Irish Lord Chancellors, except Mr, Ponsonby, whom 
nobody ever heard me praise as a very great lawyer, but whom 
everybody has heard me term a just judge, and an honest friendly 

Of Lord Camden, I believe, there was no second opinion in 

* Lord Castlereagli's letter to me put, in fact, a civil end to my dreams of 
promotion. — (Author's note.) 



the circle wherein I moved. A better man could not he ; hut 
instead of governing he was governed ; and intimately acquainted 
as I was with every procedure and measure during his adminis- 
tration in Ireland, I do most fully acquit him, indi\'idually, of 
the outrageous, impolitic, and ill-judged measures which distin- 
guished his rule. As to Lord Clare, he was despotic, and the 
greatest enemy Ireland ever had. His father had been a Eoman 
Catholic, and intended for a priest, but changed his tenets, 
became a barrister of great and just celebrity, and left many 

Lord Clare was latterly my most inveterate enemy. The 
cause shall be no secret. It arose from a vicious littleness of 
mind scarcely credible ; and proves to me that implacability of 
temper never exists without its attendant faults ; and although 
it may be deprecated by cringing, is seldom influenced by feelings 
of generosity.* 

* Dr. Hill of Harcourt Street, who was Regius Professor of Metlicine, T.C.D., 
for more tliau half-a-C€ntury, said of Clare, — *'I watclied Fitzgibboii's conduct 
for years, in court and out of it, to friends and foes, to sycophants and expectants, 
and came to a clear conclusion, that he hated, and strove to hurt, any man who 
had any pretensions to honesty* or ability." 


barrington's personal sketches 


Lord ISTorbury, then Mr. Toler, went circuit as judge the first 
circuit I went as barrister. He continued my friend as warmly 
as he possibly could be the friend of any one, and I thought he 
was in earnest. One evening, however, coming hot from Lord 
Clare's, at that time my proclaimed enemy, he attacked me with 
an after-dinner volubility which hurt and roused me very much. 
I kept indifferent bounds myself ; but he was generally so very 
good-tempered, that I really felt a repugnance to indulging him 
with as tart a reply as a stranger would have received, and 
simply observed, that " I should only just give him that character 
which developed itself by his versatility — namely, that he had a 
hand for every man, and a heart for nohody ! " — and I believe the 
sarcasm has stuck to him from that day to this. He returned a 
very warm answer, gave me a wink, and made his exit. Of 
course I followed. The serjeant-at-arms was instantly sent by 
the Speaker to pursue us with his attendants, and to bring both 
refractory members back to the House. Toler was caught by 
the skirts of his coat fastening in a door ; and they laid hold of 
him just as the skirts were torn completely off. I was overtaken 
in JSTassau Street ; and, as I resisted, was brought, like a sack, 
on a man's shoulders, to the admiration of the mob, and thrown 
down* in the body of the House. The Speaker told us we must 
give our honours forthwith that the matter should proceed no 
further. Toler got up to defend himself ; but as he then had no 
skirts to his coat, made a most ludicrous figure ; and Curran put 
a finishing-stroke to the comicality of the scene, by gravely 
saying, that it was the most unparalleled insult ever offered to 

* Here is a morceau, racy of the soil, that must be palatable to the most fasti- 
dious Englishman. 



the House ; as it appeared that one honourable member had 
trimmed another honourable member's jacket within these walls, 
and nearly within view of the Speaker 1" A general roar of 
laughter ensued. I gave my honour as requii'ed — I think with 
more good-will than Toler ; and would willingly have forgotten 
the affair altogether, which he apparently never did. 

Lord Xorbury had more readiness of repartee than any man 
I ever knew who possessed neither classical wit nor genuine 
sentiment to make it valuable. But he had a fling at everything ; 
and, failing in one attempt, made another — sure of carrying his 
point before he relinquished his eftbrts. His extreme good 
temper was a great advantage. The present Lord Eedesdale was 
much, though unintentionally, annoyed by Mr. Toler, at one of 
the first dinners he gave, as Lord Chancellor of Ireland, to the 
judges and King's Counsel. Having heard that the members of 
the Irish Bar, of whom he was then quite ignorant, were con- 
sidered extremely witty, and being desirous, if possible, to adapt 
himseK to their habits, his Lordship had obviously got together 
some of his best Bar-remarks, for of ivit he was totally guiltless 
if not inapprehensive, to repeat to his company as occasion 
might offer, and if he could not be humorous, determined at least 
to be entertaining. 

The first of his Lordship's observations after dinner was the 
teUing us that he had been a "Welsh judge, and had found great 
difficulty in pronouncing the double consonants wliicli occur in 
the Welsh proper names. " After much trial," continued his 
Lordship, " I found that the difficulty was mastered by moving 
the tongue alternately from one dog-tooth to the other." 

Toler seemed quite delighted with this discovery ; and re- 
quested to know his lordship's dentist, as he had lost one of his 
dog-teeth, and would immediately get another in place of it. 
This went off flatly enough — no laugh being gained on either 

Lord Redesdale's next remark was, that when he was a lad, 
cock-fighting was the fasliion ; and that both ladies and gentle- 
men went full-dressed to the cock-pit, the ladies being in hoops. 

186 barrington's personal sketches 

" I see now, my Lord/' said Toler, " it was then that the 
term cock-a-hoop was invented." 

A general laugh now burst forth, which rather discomposed 
the learned Chancellor. He sat for awhile silent ; until skating 
became a subject of conversation, when his Lordship rallied — 
and with an air of triumph said, that in his boyhood all danger 
was avoided ; for, before they began to skate they always put 
blown bladders under their arms ; and so, if the ice happened to 
break, they were buoyant and saved. 

''Ay, my Lord !" said Toler, " that's what we call blatheram- 
skate in Ireland."* 

Having failed with Toler, the Chancellor now addressed 
himself to Mr. Garrat OTarrell, a jolly Irish barrister, who al- 
ways carried a parcel of coarse national humour about with him ; 
a broad, squat, ruddy-faced fellow, with a great aquiline nose 
and a humorous eye. Independent in mind and property, he 
generally said whatever came uppermost. " Mr. Garrat O'Far- 
rell," said the Chancellor solemnly, " I believe your name and 
family were very respectable and numerous in County Wicklow. 
I think I was introduced to several of them during my late tour 

" Yes, my Lord !" said OTarreU, " we were very numerous ; 
but so many of us have been lately hanged for sheep-stealing, 
that the name is getting rather scarce in that county." 

His Lordship said no more ; and, so far as respect for a new 
chancellor admitted, we got into our own line of conversation, 
without his assistance. His Lordship, by degrees, began to 
understand some jokes a few minutes after they were uttered. 
An occasional smile discovered his enlightenment ; and, at the 
breaking up, I really think his impression was, that we were a 
pleasant, though not very comprehensible race.t 

I never saw Lord Kedesdale more puzzled than at one of 

* Nonsense; the word is used, or was, in Scotland. It is not likely that those 
dull jokes were fired off at the Chancellor's table. Toler, indeed, perpetrated 
many things as stupid, and so did Whateley ; and such things pass for wit, but 
the train here seems to have been laid by our author. 

+ No wonder, if all this be true. 



Plunket's best jeux d'esprits. A cause was argued in Chancery, 
wherein the plaintiff prayed that the defendant should be re- 
strained from suing hini on certain bills of exchange, as they 
were nothing but kites. — "Kites?" exclaimed Lord Eedesdale : 
" Kites, !Mr. Plunket ? Kites never could amount to the value 
of those securities ! I don't understand this statement at all, 
Mr. Plunket." 

" It is not to be expected that you should, my Lord ?" 
answered Plunket : " In England and in Ireland kites are quite 
different things. In England the icind raises the kites, but in 
Ireland the kites raise the v:ijid " 

" I do not feel any way better informed yet, Mr. Plunket," 
said the matter-of-fact chancellor. 

" Well, my Lord, I'll explain the thing without mentioning 
those birds of prey :" and therewith he elucidated the difficulty. 

Lord Eedesdale never could pronounce the name of Mr. Col- 
clough,* a suitor in the Chancery court. It was extremely 
amusing to hear how he laboured to get it off his tongue, but 
quite in vain ! Callcloff was his nearest effort. I often wished 
I coidd recommend him to try his dog-teeth. 

On the discussion of the Catholic bill, in 1792, Lord West- 
morland, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, did not approve of 
the precipitate measures wished for by his secretary, Major 
Hobart, after^'ards Earl of Buckinghamshire. I had the honour 
of distinctly knowing the sentiments of both, and clearly saw 
the shades of difference which existed between them, but wliich, 
of course, I did not presume to notice. I felt convinced that 
both were my friends, and was desirous, if possible, to run 
counter to neither. 

I never had disputed the political right of the Catholics 
theoretically ; but I had been bred up amongst WiUiamites, and 
had imbibed, without very weU understanding their bearing, 
strong Protestant principles ; and hence I deemed it wisest 
neither to speak nor vote upon the subject at that period. 

The Irish Catholics had conceived a wonderfidly high opinion 

* Pronounced Cokeley. 


bareington's personal sketches 

of Mr. Edmund Burke's assistance and abilities. Because he 
was a clever man himself, they conceived his son must needs be 
so too ; and a deputation was sent over to induce young Mr. 
Burke to come to Ireland, for the purpose of superintending the 
progress of their bills of Emancipation in the Irish Parliament ; 
and, to bear his expenses, a sum of £2000 was voted.* Mr. 
Keogh of Dublin, a very sensible man, who had retired from 
trade, was extremely active upon this occasion. 

The bills were introduced and resisted : a petition had been 
prepared by Burke ; and, being considered neither well-timed 
nor well-worded, certain even of the warmest supporters of the 
Catholics declined to present it. 

Young Burke, either totally ignorant of parliamentary rules, 
or supposing that in a disturbed country like Ireland they 
would be dispensed Avith, especially in favour of a son of the 
great Burke, determined he would present the petition himself ; 
— not at the bar, but in the body of the House ! Accordingly, 
he descended from the gallery, walked into the House with a 
long roll of parchment under his arm, and had arrived near the 
Treasury-bench when a general cry of " Privilege — A stranger in 
the House!" arose from aU quarters, and checked the progress 
of the intruder ; but when the Speaker, in his loud and dignified 
tone, called out Serjeants-at-arms, do your duty 1" it seemed to 
echo like thunder in Burke's ears ; he felt the awkwardness of 
his situation, and ran towards the bar. Here he was met by the 
serjeant-at-arms with a drawn sword. Eetracing his steps, he 
was stopped by the clerk ; and the serjeant gaining on him, with 
a feeling of trepidation he commenced actual flight. The door- 
keepers at the corridor now joined in pursuit ; but at length, 
after an excellent chase, he forced through the enemy behind 
the Speaker's chair and escaped ! Strong measures were imme- 
diately proposed : messengers despatched in all quarters to 
arrest him : very few knew who he was ; when Lord N"orbury 
(with that vivacious promptness which he always possessed), on 
its being observed that no such transaction had ever occurred 

* By an association of Catholic and Liberal gentlemen. 



before, exclaimed, "I found the very same incident some few 
days back in the cross-readings of the colimms of a newspaper. 
' Yesterday a petition was presented to the House of Commons 
— it fortunately missed fire, and the villain ran oftV " This 
sally put the House in a moment into good humour ; and Burke 
was allowed to retui-n to England unmolested. 

I read some time back, in the English newspapers, an anec- 
dote of Lord Norbury's having appeared on the bench in a 
masquerade dress. As I was myseK present at that occurrence, 
it is only just to his Lordship to state the facts, whence it will 
appear that it was totally a mistake — so much so, indeed, that 
his Lordship did not seem to be conscious of his habiliments 
even whilst every person in court was staring with astonish- 

Some time previously Lady Castlereagh had given a very 
splendid masquerade, at wliicli I saw the chief justice in the 
dress and character of Haiutliorn, in " Love in a Village," and 
well did he enact that part. The dress was a gi-een tabitiet, with 
mother-of-pearl buttons, sti-iped yellow-and-black waistcoat, and 
buff breeches ; and was altogether cool and light. 

On goiQg the next cu'cuit, the weather being excessively 
sultry, and his Lordship having a great press of sentences to 
pass on rebels, etc., at Carlow, he put on, under his robes, Haw- 
thorn's costume, as the lightest vestments in his Lordship's 

The warmth of the day, however, might be expected to take 
away a certain quantity of any man's precaution ; and Norbury, 
feeling the heat insuflerable, involimtarLly first turned up the 
sleeves of his robe, then loosened the zone round liis waist : the 
robe, being now free from all restraint, thought it had a right to 
steal away from the green jacket ; and thus the unconscious 
chief justice "stood confessed" to the auditory in the court- 
house as the representative of a very different character from 
that of a judge ! 


barrington's personal sketches 


Many anecdotes occur to me of my late respected friend, Mr. 
Grattan. There are but few, however, which can throw fresh 
light upon a character so long and so generally known, and 
which exhibited unvarying excellence. 

I never met any man who possessed the genuine elements of 
courage in a higher degree than Mr, Grattan ; in whom dwelt 
a spirit of mild, yet impetuous bravery, which totally banished 
all apprehensions of danger. 

I have already given some account of my contest for Dublin 
City, and of the circumstances connecting my illustrious friend 
therewith. On the evening of the first day of polling, whilst I 
sat at dinner, a servant announced that a gentleman in a sedan- 
chair was at the door and wished to speak to me. I imme- 
diately went out, and finding it was Grattan, begged him to 
enter the house ; upon which he desired his chair to be taken 
into the hall. His manner was so agitated and mysterious, that 
I felt quite alarmed, and feared something imtoward had hap- 
pened to him. We went into a parlour, where, without any 
introductory observation, he exclaimed : " Barrington, I must 
have a shot at that rascal !" 

" Heavens !" said I, " what rascal 1" 

" There is but one such in the world ! " cried he : " that 

" My dear Grattan," I replied, you cannot be serious : 
there is no ground for a challenge on your part ; your language 
to him was such as never before was used to human creature ; 
and if he survives your words, no bullet would have effect upon 

"Ah, that won't do, Barrington!" exclaimed Grattan : *'he 



objected to my voting for you, because, he said, I was a ' dis- 
carded corporator.' " 

" That was not intended as personal,'' said I ; " and even had 
he gained his point, would it not be an honour for you to be re- 
moved from such a corporation?*' 

'* Barrington," rejoined he, " it's of no use ! I must have a 
shot at the feUow : I can't sleep unless you go to him for me." 

This I peremptorily refused, arguing and reasoning with him 
again and again. He stiU continued obstinate, and I begged liim 
to go and ask the advice of ^Mi*. George Ponsonby. 

" Oh no," replied he ; " Ponsonby is a wise man, wiser than 
either of us ; in fact, he is sometimes too wise and too peaceable. 
You must go to Giflard ; perhaps it may not be icise, but I know 
you prefer your friend's honour to your friend's safety. Come 
now, get your hat, Barrington !" 

Upwards of an hour elapsed before I could even half convince 
him that he was wrong ; but at length, by the only argimient 
that could make any impression on him, I extracted a promise 
that he would let the afiair drop. " Grattan," said I, " recoUect 
matters, and have consideration for me," He started : — " Yes," 
continued I, " you know it was solely on my accoimt that you 
exposed yourseK to any insult ; and do you think I could remaiu 
an idle spectator, in a conflict whereof I was the cause ? If you 
do not promise me that you will go ' no fiuther in this business,' 
I shall instantly make the thing personal with Giffard myself." 

For a moment he was silent, then smiling — " Coriolanus," 
said he, " replied to his noble parent — * Mother ! you have con- 
quered I' — I icill go no further." 

" I humbly thank you," said I, " for making an old woman 
of me." He then went away, as I conceived, satisfied. He had 
come thus privately (for the curtains were drawn roimd his 
chair), to avoid suspicion being excited of his intentions, and the 
authorities consequently interfering to prevent the combat. My 
surprise may be imagined, when, at six o'clock the next morning, 
I was roused by the same announcement of a gentleman in a cliair. 
I knew it must be Grattan, and directed him to be brought in. 


babrington's personal sketches 

I had now the same game to play over again. He said he 
had not slept a wink all night, from thinking about " that 
rascal ; " and that he " must have a shot at him." Another 
course now suggested itself to me, and I told him I had, on con- 
sideration, determined, whether wright or wrong, that, if he per- 
severed, I would wait upon the sheriff and get him bound over to 
keep the peace. He was not pleased at this, but had no option ; 
and ultimately we both agreed not to revive the subject during 
the election. 

Mr. Egan, one of the roughest-looking persons possible, being 
at one time a supporter of government, made virulent philippics, 
in the Irish House of Commons, against the French Kevolution. 
His figure was coarse and bloated, and his dress not over-elegant 
withal ; in fact, he had by no means the look of a member of 

One evening this man fell foul of a speech of Grattan's ; and 
amongst other absurdities, said in his paroxysm, that the right 
honourable gentleman's speech had a tendency to introduce the 
guillotine into the very body of the House : indeed, he almost 
thought he could already perceive it before him. " Hear him ! 
Hear him " ! shouted Sir Boyle Eoche. Grattan good-humouredly 
replied, that the honourable member must have a vastly sharper 
sight than he had. He certainly could see no such thing : "but 
though," added Grattan, looking with his glass toward Egan, " I 
may not see the guillotine, yet methinks I can perceive the 
executioner r ^ 

Colonel Burr, who had been vice-president of America, and 
probably would have been the next president, but for his unfor- 
tunate duel with General Hamilton, came over to England, and 
was made known to me by Mr. Eandolph of South Carolina 
(with whom I was very intimate). He requested I would intro- 
duce him to Mr. Grattan, whom he was excessively anxious to 
see. Colonel Burr was not a man of a very prepossessing ap- 
pearance, — rough-featured and neither dressy nor polished ; but 

* Lady Morgan's version is better; "I don't see the knife, but I do the 



a Tvell-informed, sensible man ; and though not a particularly 
agreeable, yet an instructive companion. 

People in general form extravagant anticipations regarding 
eminent persons. The idea of a great orator and Irish chief car- 
ried with it, naturally enough, corresponding notions of physical 
elegance, vigour, and dignit}'. Such was Colonel Burr's mistake 
as to ^Ir. Grattan, and I took care not to imdeceive him. 

We went to my friend's house, who was to leave London 
next day. I announced that Colonel Burr from America, ]Mr. 
Eandolph, and myseK wished to pay our respects. The sers-ant 
informed us that his master woidd receive us in a short time, but 
was at the moment occupied on business of consequence. Burr's 
expectations were all on the alert ! Eandolph also was anxious 
to be presented to the great Grattan, and both impatient for the 
entrance of this Demosthenes. At length the door opened, and 
in hopped a small bent figure, meagre, yellow, and ordinary ; one 
slipper and one shoe ; his breeches' knees loose ; his cravat 
hanging down ; his shu*t and coat-sleeves tucked up high, and 
an old hat upon his head. 

This apparition saluted the strangers very courteously : asked, 
without any introduction, how long they had been in England, 
and immediately proceeded to make inquiries about the late 
General Washington and the revolutionary war. 'Sly companions 
looked at each other ; their replies were costive, and they seemed 
quite impatient to see Mr. Grattan. I could scarcely contain 
myseK ; but determined to let my eccentric countrjTnan take his 
course. Eandolph was far the tallest, and most dignified-looking 
man of the two,* grey-haired and well-dressed : Grattan therefore, 
of course, took him for the vice-president, and addressed him 
accordingly. Eandolph at length begged to know if they could 
shortly have the honour of seeing ^Ir. Grattan ; upon which, 
our host, not doubting but they knew him, conceived it must be 
^ his son James for whom they inquired, and said, he believed he 
had that moment wandered out somewhere, to amuse himseK. 

* Against this on the margin. Captain Dalkeith Holmes, a friend of Sir Jonah's, 
pencilled Comparisons are odious !" Short and sweet. 
VOL. I. 


bareington's personal sketches 

This completely disconcerted tlie Americans, and they were 
about to make their bow and their exit, when I thought it high 
time to explain ; and, taking Colonel Burr and Mr. Eandolph 
respectively by the hand, introduced them to the Eight Honour- 
able Henry Grattan. 

I never saw people stare so, or so much embarrassed ! Grattan 
himself, now perceiving the cause, heartily joined in my merri- 
ment ; he pulled down his shirt-sleeves, pulled up his stockings ; 
and, in his own irresistible way, apologised for the outre, figure 
he cut, assuring them he had totally overlooked it in his anxiety 
not to keep them waiting ; that he was returning to Ireland next 
morning, and had been busily packing up his books and papers 
in a closet full of dust and cobwebs ! This incident rendered the 
interview more interesting : the Americans were charmed with 
their reception ; and, after a protracted visit, retired highly gra- 
tified, whilst Grattan returned again to his books and cobwebs. 

Nobody lamented more than myself the loss of this distin- 
guished man and true patriot, who, as every one knows, breathed 
his last in the British metropolis after a long and painful illness ; 
and the public papers soon after announced, to my astonishment 
and chagrin, the fact of preparations being on foot for his inter- 
ment in Westminster Abbey ! I say, to my astonishment and 
chagrin ; because it was sufficiently plain that this affected mark 
of respect was only meant to restrain the honest enthusiasm which 
might have attended his funeral obsequies in his own country. 

The subtle minister then ruling the councils of Britain knew 
full well that vanity is the falsest guide of human judgment, and 
therefore held out that Westminster Abbey (of ministers, and 
admirals, and poets), was the most honourable resting-place for 
the remains of an Irish patriot, and a humble gravestone most 
congenial to Grattan' s unassuming nature. This lure was suc- 
cessful ; and, accordingly, he who had made British ministers 
tremble in the cabinet — whose forbearance they had propitiated 
by a tender of the king's best palace in Ireland — whose fame 
they had, nevertheless, endeavoured to destroy, and whose prin- 
ciples they had calumniated, — was escorted to the grave by the 



most decided of his enemies, and inhumed amongst tlie inveterate 
foes of Ireland and of Grattan ! It is mean to say that Lord 
Castlereagh had latterly changed his opinion, and become civil to 
his illustrious opponent : so much the worse 1 he thereby con- 
fessed that, in 1797, and the two following years, he had laboured 
to destroy an imwcent man and to disgi^ace an Irish patriot, who, 
during a great portion of that period, lay on the bed of sick- 
ness. The Duke of Leinster, doubtless with the best pos- 
sible motives, but with a view of the subject differing from my 
own, suggested that Ireland should do honour to her patriot son 
by erecting a cenotaph to his memory. This, I must confess, 
appears to me to be nothing more than cold-blooded mockery — a 
compliment diminutive and empty. Towards such a monument 
I would not subscribe one farthing ; but if the revered ashes of 
my friend could be restored to liis country, and enshrined beneath 
the sky of gi-een Erin, there is no Irishman who, in proportion 
to his means, should go beyond myself in contributing to uplift 
a monumental column which should outvie the pillars dedicated 
in Dublin to the glorious butcheries of Trafalgar and Waterloo: 
whilst these are proudly commemorated, no national pile records 
the more truly glorious triumphs of 1782 — nor the formation of 
that irresistible army of volunteers which (in a right cause) 
defied all the power of England ! But my voice shall not be 
silent ; and deeply do I regret the untoward fate by which this 
just tribute to national and individual virtues has devolved upon 
the feeble powers of an almost superannuated writer. 

Ireland gave me birth and bread ; and though I am disgusted 
with its present state, I love the country still. I have endea- 
voured to give (in a more important work) some sketches of its 
modern history at the most prosperous epochas, together with 
many gloomy anecdotes of its fall, and annihilation as an inde- 
pendent kingdom ; and if God grants me a little longer space, I 
shall leave behind my honest ideas of its existing condition, and 
of the ruin to which the British Empu^e will not long remain 
blind, if she continue to pursue the same system in that mis- 
governed countr}^ 


barrington's personal sketches 

Extract of a letter from Sir Jonah Barrington to the present 
Henry Grattan, Esq., M.P. : — 

" My dear Grattan — I regret your not receiving my letter, 
written immediately after the lamented departure of my honoured 
friend. In that letter I proposed forthwith to publish the sequel 
of my character of Mr. Grattan, accompanied with his portrait 
and some additional observations. I had composed the sequel, 
much to my own satisfaction, as the continuation of his character 
promised in the number of my historical work where I say ' his 
career is not yet finished.' 

" Having received no reply to that letter, I threw the manu- 
script into the fire, keeping no copy ; it was scarcely consumed, 
however, before I repented of having done so. 

" And now permit an old and sensitive friend to expostulate 
a little with you, in the simple garb of queries : — 

" Why, and for what good reason, — with what policy, or on 
what feeling, are the bones of the most illustrious of Irishmen 
suffered to moulder in the same ground with his country's 
enemies ? 

" Why suffer him to be escorted to the grave by the mock 
pageantry of those whose vices and corruptions ravished from 
Ireland everything which his talent and integrity had obtained 
for her ? 

" Why send his countrymen on a foreign pilgrimage, to wor- 
ship the shrine of their canonised benefactor ? Were not the 
cathedrals of Ireland worthy to be honoured by his urn, — or 
the youths of Erin to be animated by knowing that they pos- 
sessed his ashes ? Can it be gratifying to the feelings of his 
countrymen to pay the sexton of a British abbey a mercenary 
shilling for permission even to see the gravestone of your 

"You were deceived by the blandishments of our mortal 

* I was myself once refused even admittance into Westminster Abbey, wherein 
his ashes rest ! — the sexton affirming that the jprojper hour was past ! — {Author's 
note. ) 



enemy : lie knew tliat political idolatry has great power, and 
excites great influence in nations. The shrine of a patriot has 
often proved to be the standard of liberty ; and it was therefore 
good policy in a British statesman to suppress oiu- excitements : — 
the bust of Eousseau is immortalised on the Continent — the tra- 
dition of Grattan only will remain to his compatriots. 

" He lived the life — he died the death — but he does not 
sleep in the tomb, of an Irish patriot ! England has taken away 
our constitution, and even the relics of its founder arc retained 
through the duplicity of his enemy. 

" You have now^ my sentiments on the matter, and by frankly 
expressing them I have done my duty to you, to myself, and 
my countr}^* 

" Your ever affectionate and sincere friend, 

" Jonah Bakeington. " 

* Henry Grattan was bom in Dublin on July 3, 1746 ; studied in Trinity Col- 
lie ; was called to the Irish bar in 1772 ; entered parliament in 1775 ; died in 
London in 1820, and was buried in "Westminster Abbey. For his great public 
services in procuring from the English crown and government the recognition of 
the absolute independence of the king, lords, and commons of Ireland, Mr. 
Bagenal Harvey proposed a national reward. The sum first named was £100,000, 
but Mr. Grattan would accept only of the moiety. In the Royal Exchange, 
Dublin, there is a fine statue of this illustrious statesman, with the neat inscrip- 
tion, " Filio Optimo Carissimo Patria Non Ingrata." A long-smouldering wish 
for a suitable public monument has been invigorated with the breath of life by 
Mr. A. M. Sullivan, of the Nation newspaper, who, with the approbation of all 
parties, devoted a gift of £700, made him by his admirers, to initiate a subscrip- 
tion for a memorial worthy of Grattan's genius, virtues, and deeds. 

Marlay was his mother's name. She was daughter of the Bishop of AVaterford, 
whose father was Thomas Marlay, chief-justice of Ireland. Grattan's father was 
a lawyer, recorder of Dublin, and a member of the Irish commons. His great- 
grandfather, Patrick Grattan, was a senior fellow of T. C. D. 

Five years after the act of union he entered the Imperial parliament as repre- 
sentative of the borough of Malton, but was returned for Dublin in 1806. The 
son to whom the above was addressed is some years dead. In his politics and in- 
corruptible principles he followed in the footsteps of his illustrious father. 


baertngton's personal sketches 


Lord Aldborough was an arrogant and ostentatious man ; but 
these failings were nearly redeemed by Ms firmness and gallantry 
in his memorable collision with Lord Chancellor Clare. 

Lord Aldborough, who ha.d built a most tasteful and hand- 
some house* immediately at the northern extremity of Dublin, 
had an equity suit with Mr. Beresford, a nephew of Lord Clare, 
as to certain lots of ground close to his Lordship's new mansion, 
which, among other conveniences, had a chapel on one wing and 
a theatre on the other, stretching away from the centre in a 
chaste style of ornamental architecture 

The cause was in Chancery, and was not protracted very 
long. Lord Aldborough was defeated with full costs : his pride, 
his purse, and his mansion, must all suffer, and meddling with 
either of these was sufi&cient to rouse his Lordship's spleen. He 
appealed, therefore, to the House of Peers, where, in due season, 
the cause came on for hearing, and where the Chancellor himself 
presided. The lay lords did not much care to interfere in the 
matter ; and, without loss of time. Lord Clare of the House of 
Peers confirmed the decree of Lord Clare of the Court of Chan- 
cery, with full costs against the appellant. 

Lord Aldborough had now no redress but to write at the 
Lord Chancellor ; and without delay he fell to composing a book 
against Lord Clare and the system of appellant jurisdiction, 
stating that it was totally an abuse of justice to be obliged to 
appeal to a prejudiced man against his own prejudices, and par- 
ticularly so in the present instance. Lord Clare being notorious 
as an unforgiving Chancellor to those who vexed him, and no 

* Now known as Aldborough Barracks, and previously as the Feinaglian Insti- 
tution — a proprietary school for the education of young gentlemen. 



Lords attending to hear the cause, or if tliey did, not being much 
wiser for the hearing — it being the pro\ince of a counsel to 
puzzle not to inform noblemen. 

Lord Aldborough, in his book, liumorously enough stated an 
occurrence that had happened to himself when travelling in 
Holland. His Lordship was going to Amsterdam on one of the 
canals in a trekschuit — the captain or skipper of which, being a 
great rogue, extorted from his Lordship, for his passage, much 
more than he had a lawful right to claim. My Lord expostu- 
lated with the skipper in vain : the fellow grew rude ; his 
Lordsliip persisted ; the skipper got more abusive. At lengtli 
Lord Aldborough told him lie would, on landing, immediately 
go to the proper tribunals and get redress from the judge. The 
skipper cursed liim as an impudent milord, and desired him to 
do his worst, snapping his tarry fingers in his Lordshi2)'s face. 
Lord Aldborough paid the demand, and, on landing, went to the 
legal officer to know when the court of justice would sit. He 
was answered, at nine next morning. Having no doubt of ample 
redress, he did not choose to put the skipper on his guard by 
mentioning liis intentions. Next morning he went to court and 
began to tell his story to the judge, who sat with his broad- 
brimmed hat on, in great state, to hear causes of that nature. 
His Lordship fancied he had seen the man before, nor was 
he long in doubt ! for ere he had half finished, the judge, in a 
voice like thunder, but which his Lordship immediately recog- 
nised, for it was that of the identical skipper ! decided against 
him with full costs, and ordered him out of court. His Lordship, 
however, said he would apjoeal, and away he went to an advocate 
for that purpose. He did accordingly appeal, and the next day 
his appeal cause came regularly on. But all his Lordship's 
stoicism forsook him, when he again found that the very same 
skipper and judge was to decide the appeal who had decided the 
cause ; so that the learned skipper first cheated and then laughed 
at him. 

The noble writer having, in his book, made a very improper 
and derogatory apphcation of his Dutch precedent to Lord Chan- 


barrington's personal sketches 

cellor Clare and the Irish appellant jurisdiction, was justly con- 
sidered by his brother peers as having committed a gross breach 
of their privileges, and was thereupon ordered to attend in his 
place and defend himseK from the charge made against him by 
the Lord Chancellor and the peers of Ireland. Of course, the 
House of Lords was thronged to excess to hear his Lordship's 
vindication. I went an hour before it met, to secure a place 
behind the throne, where the Commoners were allowed to crowd 
up as well as they could. 

The Chancellor, holding the vicious book in his hand, asked 
Lord Aldborough if he admitted that it was of his writing and 
publication ? to which his Lordship replied, that he could admit 
nothing as written or published by him, till every word of it 
should be first truly read to their Lordships aloud in the House. 
Lord Clare, wishing to curtail some parts, began to read it him- 
self, but not being quite near enough to the light, his opponent 
took a pair of enormous candlesticks from the table, walked 
deliberately up to the throne, and requested the Chancellor's 
permission to hold the candles for him whilst he was reading 
the book ! This novel sort of effrontery put the Chancellor com- 
pletely off his guard : he was outdone, and permitted Lord 
Aldborough to hold the Kghts, wliilst he perused the libel com- 
paring him to a Dutch skipper : nor did the obsequious author 
omit to set him right here and there when he omitted a word or 
proper emphasis. It was ludicrous beyond example, and grati- 
fying to the secret ill-wishers of Lord Clare, who bore no small 
proportion to the aggregate numbers of the House. The libel 
being duly read through, Lord Aldborough at once spiritedly and 
adroitly said that he avowed every word of it to their Lordships ; 
but that it was not intended as any libel either against the 
House, or the jurisdiction ; but as a constitutional and just 
rebuke to their Lordships for not performing their bounden duty 
in attending the hearing of the appeal ; he being quite certain 
that if any sensible men had been present, the Lord Chancellor 
would only have had two lords and two bishops (his own crea- 
tures) on his side of the question. 



This was considered as an aggravation of the contempt, 
though some thought it was not very far from the matter-of- 
fact. The result was, that after a bold speech, delivered with 
great earnestness, his Lordship was voted guilty of a high breach 
of privilege, and a libel on the Lord Chancellor, as chairman of 
the House. He was afterwards ordered to Kewgate for six 
months by the Court of King's Bench, wliich sentence, his 
Lordship told them, he considered, under the circumstances, as 
a high compliment and honour. In fact, he never was so pleased 
as when speaking of the incident, and declaring that he expected 
to have his book recorded on the Journals of the Lords ; the 
Chancellor himself, by applying his anecdote of the Dutch 
skipper, having construed it into a regular ej^isode on their pro- 

Lord Aldborough underwent his full sentence in Xewgate ; 
and Ids residence there gave rise to a fresh incident in the 
memoirs of a very remarkable person, who, at that time, was an 
inmate of the same walls, originally likewise through the favour 
of Chancellor Clare, and lodged on the same staircase : and as I 
had been professionally interested in this man's affairs, I subjoin 
the following statement as curious, and in every circumstance, 
to my personal knowledge, matter-of-fact. 

James Fitzpatrick Knaresborough was a young man of toler- 
able private fortune in the county of Kilkenny. Unlike the 
common nm of young men at that day, he was sober, money- 
making, and even avaricious, though moderately hospitable ; his 
principal virtue consisting in making no exliibition of his vices. 
He was of good figure ; and without having the presence of a 
gentleman, was what is called rather a handsome young fellow. 

Mr. Knaresborough had been accused of a capital crime by a 
Miss Barton, natural daughter of AVilliam Barton, Esq., a magis- 
trate of the county of Kilkenny, who stated that she had gone 
away with him for the purpose, and in the strict confidence of 
being married the same day at LeighHn Bridge. Her father was 
a gentleman of consideration in the county, and a warrant was 
granted against Knaresborough for the felony ; but he contrived 


barrington's personal sketches 

to get liberated on bail. The grand jury, however, on the young 
woman's testimony, found true bills against him for the capital 
offence, and he came to Carlow to take his trial at the assizes. 
He immediately called on me with a brief ; said it was a mere 
hagatelh and totally unfounded ; and that his acquittal would be 
a matter of course. I had been retained against him, but intro- 
duced him to the present J udge Moore, to whom he handed his 
brief. He made so light of the business that he told me to get 
up a famous speech against him, as no doubt I was instructed to 
do. That indeed I could not say too much, as the whole would 
appear, on her own confession, to be a conspiracy ! Nay, so con- 
fident was he of procuring his acquittal, that he asked Mr. Moore 
and myself to dine with him on our road to Kilkenny, which we 

On reading my brief I found that truly the case was not 
over-strong against him even there, where, in all probability, 
circumstances would be exaggerated ; and that it rested almost 
exclusively on the lady's own evidence. 

I was then rather young at the bar, and determined, for my 
own sake, to make an interesting and affecting speech for my 
client ; and having no doubt of Knaresborough's acquittal, I cer- 
tainly overcharged my statement, and added some facts solely 
from invention. My surprise, then, may be estimated, when I 
heard Miss Barton swear positively to every syllable of my 
emblazonment. I should now have found myself most painfully 
circumstanced, but that 1 had no doubt she must be altogether 
discredited. In fact, she was quite shaken by the cross-exami- 
nation of the prisoner's counsel. He smiled at her and at us ; 
and said " the woman's credit was so clearly overthrown, that 
there could be no doubt of his client's innocence of the charge of 
violence ; and he would not trouble the court or jury by any 
protracted defence on so clear a subject." 

I considered all was over, and left the court as the jury 
retired. In about an hour, however, I received an account that 
Knaresborough had been found guilty, and sent back to gaol 
under sentence of death ! I was thunderstruck, and without 



delay wrote to the chief secretary in DubKn, begging him in- 
stantly to represent to the Lord Lieutenant the real facts. Exe- 
cution was in consequence respited. So soon as I could return 
to town, I waited on Major Hobart and the Lord Lieutenant, 
stated precisely the particulars I have here given, and my satis- 
faction, even from my ovm brief, that the girl was perjured. 
They referred me to Lord Chancellor Clare, whose answer I 
wrote down and never shall forget : — " That may be all very 
true, Barrington ; but he is a rascal, and if he does not deserve 
to be hanged for this, he does for a former afiair right well !" I 
told him it was quite necessary for me to publish the whole con- 
cern in my own justification. He then took from his bureau a 
small parcel of papers, and requested me to read them. They 
proved to be copies of affidavits and evidence on a former accu- 
sation, from which Knaresborough had escaped by lenity, for 
snapping a pistol at the father of a girl he had betrayed. 

Lord Clare, however, recommended his sentence to be changed 
to perpetual transportation ; but this was to the convict worse 
than death, and he inclosed to me a petition which he had sent 
to government, declining the proposed commutation, and insist- 
ing on being forthwith executed, pursuant to his first sentence. 
Notwithstanding, he was, in fine, actually transported. He had 
contrived to secure, in different ways, £10,000, and took a large 
sum with him to Botany Bay. I had heard no more of him for 
several years, when I was astonished one day by being accosted 
in the streets of Dublin by this identical man, altered only by 
time and in the colour of his hair, which had tm-ned quite gray. 
He was well dressed, had a large cockade in his hat, and did not 
at all court secrecy. He told me that government had allowed 
him to come away privately ; that he had gone through many 
entertaining and some dismal adventures in Africa and in 
America, whence he last came ; and he added, that as govern- 
ment were then busy raising troops, he had sent in a memorial 
proposing to raise a regiment for a distant service solely at his 
own expense. " I have," said he, " saved sufficient money for 
this purpose, though my brother has, by breach of trust, got pos- 


baerington's personal sketches 

session of a great part of my fortune ;" which was true. In fact 
he pestered the government, who were surprised at his temerity, 
yet unwilling to meddle with him, until at length they had him 
arrested, and required to show his authority from the governor 
of New South Wales for returning from transportation. Being 
unable to do so, he was committed to ISTewgate to await the 
governor's reply. 

Here his firmness and eccentricity never forsook him ; he 
sent in repeated petitions to the ministry, requesting to be 
hanged, and told me he would give any gentleman £500 who had 
sufficient interest to get him put to death without delay. An 
unsatisfactory answer arrived from ISTew South Wales ; but the 
government could not, under the circumstances, execute him for 
his return ; and liberate him Lord Clare would not. His confine- 
ment therefore was, of course, indefinitely continued. During 
its course he purchased a lottery-ticket, which turned out a prize 
of £2000 ; and, soon after, a second brought him £500. 

At this juncture the Earl of Aldborough became his next- 
door neighbour. Ultimately the whole business terminated 
pretty fortunately. My Lord had his full revenge on Lord 
Clare, and got great credit for his firmness and gallantry ; and 
Knaresborough was at length turned out of Newgate when tlie 
government were tired of keeping him in. 




There have been few public men whose characters have afforded 
a more ample field for comment than that of Mr. Curran, and 
there are very few who have been more miserably handled by 
their biographers. Young men, who fancied they knew him 
because they were latterly in his society, in fact knew him not 
at all. Xone but the intimates of his earlier and brighter days, 
and, even among such, those only who had mixed with him in 
general as well as professional society, could possibly estimate 
the inconsistent qualities of that celebrated orator. There was 
such a mingling of greatness and littleness, of sublimity and 
meanness, in his thoughts and language, that cursory observers, 
confused amidst his versatility and brilliance, quitted Curran's 
society without understanding anything relating to him beyond 
his buoyant spirits and playful wit. But towards the close of 
his day, this splendour dissipated, and dark and gloomy tints 
appeared too conspicuously, poor fellow I for his posthumous 
reputation. He felt his dechne pressing quick upon him, and 
gradually sank into listless apathy. 

Even so early as 1798 his talents and popularity seemed to 
me to have commenced a slow but ob™us declension. By 
seceding from parliament in the preceding year, he had evacuated 
the field of battle and that commanding eminence from whence 
he had so proudly repulsed all his enemies. His talents, it is 
true, for a while, sur^'ived ; but his habits of life became con- 
tracted ; his energies were paralysed ; his mind rambled ; he 
began to prose ; and, after his appointment to the Eolls, the 
world seemed to be closing fast upon him. 

My intimacy with Curran was long and close. I knew 
every turn of his mind and every point of his capacity. He was 


barrington's personal sketches 

not fitted to pursue the niceties of detail ; but his imagination 
was infinite, his fancy boundless, his wit indefatigable. There 
was scarce any species of talent to which he did not possess 
some pretension. He was gifted by I^ature with the faculties of 
an advocate and a dramatist ; and the inferior but ingenious 
accomplishment of personification, without mimicry, was equally 
familiar to him. In the circles of society, where he appeared 
everybody's superior, nobody ever seemed jealous of the supe- 

Curran's person was mean and decrepit ; very slight, very 
shapeless — with nothing of the gentleman about it ; on the con- 
trary, displaying spindle limbs, a shambling gait, one hand im- 
perfect, and a face yellow, furrowed, rather flat, and thoroughly 
ordinary.* Yet his features were the very reverse of disagree- 
able ; there was something so indescribably dramatic in his eye 
and the play of his eyebrow, that his visage seemed the index 
of his mind, and his humour the slave of his will. I never was 
so happy in the company of any man as in Curran's for many 
years. His very foibles were amusing. He had no vein for 
poetry ; yet, fancying himself a bard, he contrived to throw 
off pretty verses : he certainly was no musician ; but con- 
ceiving himself to be one, played very pleasingly : Nature 
had denied him a voice ; but he thought he could sing ; and in 
the rich mould of his capabilities, the desire here also bred, in 
some degree, the capacity. 

It is a curious, but a just remark, that every slow, crawling 
reptile is in the highest degree disgusting ; whilst an insect, ten 
times uglier, if it be sprightly and seems bent upon enjoyment,! 
excites no shuddering. It is so with the human race : had Cur- 
ran been a dull, slothful, inanimate being, his talents would not 
have redeemed his personal defects. But his rapid movements, 

t Ordinary, not ugly ; thoroughly ordinary, thoroughly ugly. — M. Scriblerus ; 
see Lexic. in voce. 

* ' ' Like a corkscrew, " interpolated Oulton, without betraying a sign. I 
laughed heartily, and had it down to Jonah's account for a long time after. As 
for BarringtoiVs observation, though not happily put, it is near the truth, at all 
events in our isle ; but in Borneo the exceptions are numerous. 



his fire, his sparkling eye, the fine and varied intonations of his 
voice, — these conspired to give life and energy to every company 
he mLxed with ; and I have known ladies who, after an hour's 
conversation, actually considered Curran a leant y, and preferred 
his society to that of the finest fellows present. There is, how- 
ever, it must be admitted, a good deal in the circumstance of a 
man being celebrated, as regards the patronage of women.* 

Curran had a perfect horror of fleas : nor was this very 
extraordinary, since those vermin seemed to show him peculiar 
hostility. If they infested a house, my friend said that " they 
always flocked to his bed-chamber when they heard he was to 
sleep there !" I recollect his being dreadfully annoyed in this 
way at Carlow ; and, on making his complaint in the morning to 
the woman of the house, " By heavens! Madam," cried he, "they 
were in such numbers, and seized upon my carcass with so much 
ferocity, that if they had been unanimous, and all pulled one 
way, they must have dragged me out of bed entirely ! " 

I never saw Curran's opinion of himself so much disconcerted 
as by Mr. Godwin, whom he had brought, at the Carlow assizes, 
to dine with ^Ir. B\Tne, a friend of ours, in whose cause he and 
I had been specially employed as counsel. Cun-an, undoubtedly, 
was not happy in his speech on this occasion — but he thought 
he was. Nevertheless, we succeeded ; and Curran, in gi-eat 
spirits, was very anxious to receive a public compliment from 
Mr. Godwin, as an- eminent literary man, teasing him, half- 
jokingly, for his opinion of his speech. Godwin fought shy for 
a considerable time ; at length Curran put the question home to 
him, and it could no longer be shifted. 

" Since you will have my opinion," said Godwin, folding his 
arms, and leaning back in his chair with much sang froid, " I 
really never did hear anything so bad as your prose — except your 
poetry, my dear Curran !"i" 

* Men sometimes patronise the obscure merely to acquii'e tlie privilege of 
insulting them. 

t The maiden speech of a young barrister, who had stolen all his gi-and flour- 
ishes from Curran, was made in defence of a prisoner who was convicted of a 
capital crime, and sentenced to be hanged. "What did you think of my speech ? " 


barrington's personal sketches 

Curran and I were in the habit, for several years, of meeting 
by appointment in London, during the long vacation, and spend- 
ing a month there together, in the enjoyment of the public 
amusements ; but we were neither extravagant nor dissipated. 
We had both some propensities in common, and a never-failing 
amusement was derived from drawing out and remarking upon ec- 
centric characters. Curran played on such people as he would on 
an instrument, and produced whatever tone he thought proper from 
them. Thus, he always had a good fiddle in London, which he 
occasionally brought to our dining-house for the general enter- 

We were in the habit of frequenting the Cannon coffee-house. 
Charing Cross, kept by the uncle of Mr. Eoberts, proprietor of 
the Eoyal Hotel, Calais, where we had a box every day at the 
end of the room ; and as, when Curran was free from professional 
cares, his universal language was that of wit, my high spirits 
never failed to prompt my performance of Jackall to the Lion. 
Two young gentlemen of the Irish bar were frequently of our 
party in 1796, and contributed to keep up the flow of wit, which, 
on Curran' s part, was well-nigh miraculous. Gradually the ear 
and attention of the company were caught. Nobody knew us, 
and, as if carelessly, the guests flocked round our box to listen. 
We perceived them, and increased our flights accordingly. In- 
voluntarily, they joined in the laugh, and the more so when they 
saw it gave no offence. Day after day the number of our satel- 
lites increased, until the room, at five o'clock, was thronged to 
hear the Irishmen. One or two days we went elsewhere ; and, 
on returning to the Cannon, our host begged to speak a word 
with me at the bar. " Sir," said he, " I never had such a set of 
pleasant gentlemen in my house, and I hope you have received 
no offence." I replied, " Quite the contrary 1 " — " Why, sir," 

he asked Curran, with a provoking frisk. "J think of it! "replied the wit: 
" 'twas a capital speech ! a gallows speech ! " The first flush of exultation paled ; 
for gallows, as an attributive, signifies ahominaUe in the Doric dialect. "At all 
events, it was my own, Mr. Curran," cried the crest-fallen. "Depend on it, I'll 
never dispute that," said the wag, with a friendly smile, " — under the circum- 



rejoined he, " as you did not come the last few days, the com- 
pany fell off. Now^, su', I hope you and the other gentlemen will 
excuse me if I remark that you will find an excellent dish of 
fish, and a roast turkey or joint, with any wine you please, hot 
on your table, every day at five o'clock, whilst you stay in town ; 
and, I must beg to add, no charge, gentlemen."* 

I reported to Curran, and we agreed to see it out. The land- 
lord was as good as his word : the room was filled ; we coined 
stories to tell each other, the lookers-on laughed almost to con- 
vulsions, and for some time we literally feasted. Having had 
our humour out, I desired a bill, which the landlord positively 
refused : how^ever, we computed for ourselves, and sent him a 
£10 note enclosed in a letter, desiring liim to give the balance to 
his waiters. 

An anecdote of a very different nature terminated one of our 
trips to London. CuiTan asked me one day if I would accom- 
pany him to sup with Miss H. ; and I consented. 

We were received with the greatest cordiality and politeness 
by Miss H. : another young lady and two cliildren were in the 
room. Curran was most humorous and enlivening, and every- 
thing foreboded a cheerfid 2^ctit soupe when the lady told Cun-an 
she wdslied to speak a word to him in the next room. They 
accordingly -withdrew. I was in conversation with the governess 
and children, when I heard a noise like the report of a small 

* Some years since there was an odd fish swimming about Dublin, known by 
the soubriqitet of "the doctor," who got his grog in two or three leading taverns 
under similar conditions. His great attraction was his unceasing and outrageous 
lying. "What greatly increased the delight of his admirers was, he luxuriated in 
the delusion that everyone believed him. His genuine complacency was a source 
of infinite amusement. Even when what he told provoked a burst of laughter, he 
had not the least misgivings of the faith of his audience. If they laughed, it was 
a compliment to his himiour, not an explosion produced by his extraordinary 
mendacity. One of his followers, a bon-vivant who used copiously to j)rime his 
fancy, said of him : — "In the whole course of his life, the doctor had but one truth 
to maintain his position in society ; and it served him well. Whenever asked, 
was he dry? he honestly acknowledged he was ; and never lost by his candour : 
but never tried it on any other occasion. In the Doric dialect "Are you dry?" 
is a euphemism for " "Will you have a glass?" 
VOL. I. P 


bakrington's personal sketches 

pistol, and Curran immediately rushed into the apartment ; Miss 
H. marching majestically after him. He took no notice of me, 
but snatching up his hat, darted down stairs and into the street 
with the utmost expedition. I really conceived that she had fired 
at him ; and feeling dubious as to my own fate, pounced upon 
my chapeau, and made after my friend. I could not, however, 
open the street-door, and gave myself up for a murdered man, 
particularly on the bell ringing violently ; but the revulsion of 
my feelings was quite heavenly when I heard Miss H.'s voice 
over the banisters calling to her maid to " open the street-door 
for the gentleman." I lost no time in making good my retreat, 
but did not see Curran again till next morning. 

I had the greatest curiosity to know the cause of his sudden 
flight ; upon which he told me, but without any symptom of wit 
or humour, that she was the most violent-tempered woman ex- 
isting ; that on their going into the houdoir together, she informed 
him that she was then considerably distressed for a sum of money 
for two or three months ; and that as she had never been under 
any pecuniary obligation to him, she would now ask one — namely 
the loan of the sum she wanted, on her own note. Curran, who 
was particularly close, dreading the amount, anticipated her de- 
mand by hoping she did not suppose he could be so mean as to 
require her note for any little advance he might have it in his 
power to make ; and was happy in handing her half the sum at 
his command in London — taking as he spoke a £10 note out of 
his pocket-book. " By Heavens ! Barrington," said Curran, " her 
look petrified me : she gazed for a moment at the note — tore it 
to atoms, muttering the word ' rascal ! ' and when I was prepar- 
ing to make an apology, hit me plump on the side of the head, 
with a fist at least as strong as any porter's ! I thought my 
brains were knocked out ! — did you not hear the crack ?" inquired 
he. "To be sure I did," said I. "Did she say anything," con- 
tinued he, " after I was gone away ?" " She only said," replied I, 
"that you were the greatest rascal existing," hereat Curran 
trembled hugely, " and that she would next day find you out 
wherever you were, and expose you all over London as a villain ! " 



Curran turned pale as ashes, made some excuse for leading 
the room, and about dinner-time I found I had carried my joke 
too far ; for I received a note stating that he was necessitated to 
start for Ireland directly on particidar business, and would be 
off in the mail. 

Curran took no part in our fierce military associations, and 
he was quite right. He was perfectly unadapted either to com- 
mand or to obey ; and as he must have done the one or the 
other, he managed much better by keeping out of the broil al- 
together ; — as he himseK said to me — " If I were mounted on 
ever so good a charger, it is probable I should not stick ten 
minutes on his back in any kind of battle : and if my sword was 
ever so sharp, I shoidd not be able to cut a rebel's head off, un- 
less he promised to ' stand easy ' and in a good position for me." 

Curran had ordered a new bar-wig, and not liking the cut of 
it, he jestingly said to the peruke-maker, " Mr. Gahan, tliis wig 
will not answer me at all !" 

"How so, sir?" said Gahan ; "it seems to fit." 

" Ay," replied Curran, " but it is the very worst speaking wig 
I ever had. I can scarce utter one word of common law in it ; 
and as for equity, it is totally out of the question." 

"Well, sir," said ]Mr. Gahan, the wig-maker, with a serious 
face, " I hope it may be no loss to me. I dare say it will answer 
Counsellor Trench." 

But Counsellor Trench would not take the wig. He said he 
could not hear a word in it. At length it was sent by Gahan to 
;Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, who purchased it from Mr. Gahan, who 
sold it a bargain on account of its bad character. Curran after- 
wards said " that the wig had been grossly calumniated ; for the 
very same head which Mr. Yesey Fitzgerald then put it on was 
afterwards stationed at the front of the Irish exchequer, where 
every one of the king's debtors and farmers were obliged to pay 
the ^vig-wearer some very suhstantial compliment, ^Ir. Fitzgerald 
not being necessitated either to hear or speak one word upon the 
occasion !" 

Chief- J ustice Carleton was a very lugubrious personage. He 


barrington's personal sketches 

never ceased complaining of his bad state of health, and fre- 
quently introduced Lady Carleton into his " Book of Lamenta- 
tions :" thence it was remarked by Curran that the chief-justice 
appeared as plaintiff {^plaintive) in every cause that happened to 
come before him ! 

One Nisi Prius day, Lord Carleton came into court, looking 
unusually gloomy. He apologised to the bar for being necessi- 
tated to adjourn the court. " The fact is," proceeded his Lord- 
ship in a low tone, I have met with a domestic misfortune. 
Poor Lady Carleton has most unfortunately miscarried, and" 

" Oh, then, my Lord 1 " exclaimed Curran, " there was no 
necessity for your Lordship to make any apology, since it now 
appears that your Lordship has no issue to try." 

In 1812 Curran dined at my house in Brook Street, London. 
He was very dejected : I did my utmost to rouse him — in vain. 
He leaned his face on his hand, and was long silent. He looked 
yellow, winkled, and livid : the dramatic fire had left his eye, 
the spirit of his wit had fled, his person was shrunken, and his 
whole demeanour miserable and distressing. 

After a long pause, a dubious tear standing in his eye, he on 
a sudden exclaimed, with a sort of desperate composure, "Bar- 
rington, I am perishing ! day by day I'm perishing ! I feel it : 
you knew me when I lived — and you witnessed my annihila- 
tion." He was again silent. 

I felt deeply for him. I saw that he spoke truth : reasoning 
would only have increased the malady, and I therefore tried 
another course — Ijagatelle. I jested with him, and reminded 
him of old anecdotes. He listened — gradually his attention 
was caught, and at length I excited a smile ; a laugh soon fol- 
lowed, a few glasses of wine brought him to his natural tempera- 
ment, and Curran was himself for a great part of the evening. 
I saw, however, that he would soon relapse, and so it turned 
out ; he began to talk to me about his family, and that very 
wildly. He had conceived some strange prejudices on this 
head, which I disputed with him until I wearied of the subject. 

We supped together, and he sat cheerful enough till I turned 



him iiitcx a coach, at one o'clock in the morning. I never saw 
him after in London. 

Mr. Curran had a younger brother, who was an attorney — 
very like him, but taller and better-looking. This man had a 
good deal of his brother's humour, a little wit, and much satii'e ; 
but his slang was infinite, and his conduct very dissolute. He 
was, in fact, what may be termed the best blackguard of his pro- 
fession (and that was saying a great deal for him). My friend 
had justly excluded him from his house, but occasionally re- 
lieved his finances, until these calls became so importunate, that 
at length further compliance was refused. 

" Sii*," said the attorney to me, one day, " if you will speak 
to my brother, T am sure he'll give me something handsome 
before the week is out I" I assured liim he was mistaken, 
whereupon he burst into a loud laugh ! 

There was a small space of dead wall at that time directly 
facing Curran's house, in Ely Place, against which the attorney 
procured a \NTitten permission to build a little wooden box. He 
accordingly got a carpenter, one of his comrades, to erect a cob- 
bler's stall there for him ; and having assumed the dress of a 
Jobson, he wrote over his stall, " Curran, Cobbler — Shoes soled, 
or heeled. When the stall is shut, inquire over the way." 

Curran, on returning from court, perceived this worthy hard 
at work, with a parcel of chairmen lounging round him. The 
attorney just nodded to his brother, cried "How do you do, 
Jack?" and went on with his employment. 

Curran immediately dispatched a servant for the spendthrift, 
to whom having given some money, the showboard was taken 
down, the stall removed, and the attorney vowed that he would 
never set up again as a cobbler. 

I never knew Curran express more unpleasant feelings than 
at a circumstance which really was too trivial to excite any 
such ; but this was his humour : he generally thought more of 
trifles than of matters of importance, and worked himself up 
into most painful sensations upon subjects which should only 
have excited his laughter. 


baerington's personal sketches 

At the commencement of the peace he came to Paris, deter- 
mined to get into French society, and thus be enabled to form a 
better idea of their habits and manners, — a species of knowledge 
for which he quite languished. His parasites had told him that 
his fame had already preceded him even to the closet of Louis 
h Desire : he accordingly procured letters of introduction from 
persons of high rank in England, who had foolishly lavished 
favours and fortunes on the Bourbons and their gang of emi- 
grants, in general the most ungrateful (as time has demonstrated) 
of the human species, although it was then universally believed 
that they could not quite forget the series of kindnesses which 
had preserved them from starvation or massacre. 

Amongst other letters, he had the honour of bearing one, 
couched in strong terms, from his Eoyal Highness the Duke of 
Sussex to the Count d'Artois, now King of France, reinstated on 
the throne of his forefathers by the blood, the treasure, and the 
foUy of England. 

" IsTow I am in the right line," said Curran, " introduced by 
a branch of one royal family to that of another ; now I shall have 
full opportunity of forming my own opinion as to the sentiments 
of the old and new nobility of France, whereon I have been 
eternally, though rather blindly, arguing." 

I was rather sceptical, and said, " I am disposed to think 
that you wiU argue more than ever when you get home 

Away he went to the Tuilleries, to enter his name and see 
Monsieur. Having left his card and letters of introduction, he 
waited ten days for an audience : Monsieur was occupied. A 
second entry was now made by Curran at the palace, and, after 
ten days more, a third ; but Monsieur was still busy. A fresh 
entry and card of J. P. C. had no better success. In my life I 
never saw Curran so chagrined. He had devised excuses for the 
arrogant Prince two or three times ; but this last instance of 
neglect quite overcame him, and in a few days he determined to 
return to Ireland without seeing the Count d'Artois or ascertain- 
ing the sentiments of the French nobility. He told his story to 



Mr. L., a mutual friend of oars in Paris, who said it must be 
some omission of the Swiss porter. 

" Certainly," said Curran, catching at this straw, " it must, 
no doubt !" and his opinion was speedily realised by the receipt 
of a note from Monsieur's aide-de-camp, stating, that His Eoyal 
Highness would be glad to receive Mr. Curran at eight o'clock 
the following morning. 

About nine o'clock he returned to the hotel, and all I could 

get from liim, in his wTath, Avas "D n!" In fact, he 

looked absolutely miserable. " To think," said he at length, " of 
this fellow ! he told me he always dined A^dth liis brother, and 

kept no establislmient of his own ; then bowed me out, by , 

as if I was an importunate dancing-master ! " 

" Wait till the iiext revolution, Curran," said I, " and then we'll 
be even with him !" 

At this moment Mr. L. came in, and, with a most cheerful 
countenance, said, " Well, Curran, I carried your point !" 

" mat point ?" asked Curran. 

" I knew it would take," pursued L. smirking : "I told 
Monsieur's aide-de-camp that you felt quite hurt and miser- 
able on accoimt of Monsieur's having taken no notice of your 
letters or yourself, though you had paid him four visits ; and 

" WTiat do you say ? " shouted Curran. 

Upon L. repeating his words with infinite glee, our disap- 
pointed friend burst out into a regular frenzy, slapped his face 
repeatedly, and walked about exclaiming, " I'm disgraced ! I'm 
humbled in the eyes of that fellow ! I'm miserahle 

I apprehend he had experienced but little more ci^dlity 
from any of the restored gentry of the French emigrants, to several 
of whom he brought letters, and I am sure, had he received any 
in\dtation from them, I must have heard of it. I fancy that a 
glass of eaic sucr4 was the very extent of the practical hospi- 
tality he experienced from Messieurs les emigres, who, if I 
might judge by their jaws and cravats of the quantity and 
quality of their food and of their credit with washerwomen, were 


barrington's personal sketches 

by no means in as flonrising a state as when they lived on our 

There is much of the life of this celebrated mani* omitted by 
those who have attempted to write it. Even his son could have 
known but little of him, as he was not born at the time his 
father's glories had attained their zenith. Before he became the 

* This is extravagantly tart, Barrington thought he had as good a right to ho 
as conspicuous in the French court as in the Irish. He conceived that he had 
brought with him the stage -and scenery of 1782 — Free Trade, Parliamentary 
Independence, the Volunteers, and the fall of 1800. He fancied himself neglected 
at a time when nobody could possibly think of him ; and avenged his vanity in 
the above ungenerous sneer. 

+ Curran was born, 1750, at Newmarket, a small town in the County Cork. In 
1770 he became a sizar of Trinity College, and five years after, a member of the 
Irish bar. In 1779 he was admitted "a monk of the Screw," a convivio -political 
society of the most eminent men of his day. In 1783 he obtained a silk gown and 
a seat in parliament. He was one of the readiest wits that ever lived, and of an 
inexhaustible fancy. His speeches were warm, glittering, and animated ; indif- 
ferent in style ; abounding in wild and broken metaphor ; and of little weight. 
He had a fine turn for poesy ; and has left behind him an ode without any equal ; 
not even in Horace or Beranger, and one needs not say more. It is a song in two 
stanzas, beginning — "If sadly thinking," 

His great career as a popular advocate began in 1794, with the defence of 
Archibald Hamilton Kowan for libel ; and this effort of forensic eloquence he 
scarcely ever surpassed ; but his client was sentenced and imprisoned. He became 
Master of the EoUs in 1806, and continued in office till 1814, when he resigned 
broken in health and spirits. He withdrew to Brompton in 1815, and took up 
his residence near Moore. Here he lived in great seclusion, and escaped from his 
despondency and cares in October 1817. He was interred in the vaults of Pad- 
dington Church ; from which, twenty-three years after, his remains were removed, at 
the instance and expense of a noble enthusiast, Lord Cloncurry, to the fine ceme- 
tery, Glasnevin. Over them has been placed a simple but graceful monument 
raised by a x^U-blic fund. 

Of Curran's genius we have the best testimony from Byron, who met him in 
1813, "Curran!" exclaimed the poet ; "I have heard that man speak more 
poetry than I have ever seen written," The best commentary on Curran's style 
of rhetoric is the speeches of his imitator, Charles Phillips, who so exaggerates all 
the worst faults of his type that they cannot fail to be discovered, and may be 
avoided. In truth Curran stopped at nothing ; a faculty most pleasing to mis- 
cellaneous audiences, A theatre so broad, as it was indeed in his time, tempted to 
many an extraordinary bound ; and an atmosphere so free and congenial favoured 
and fed innumerable corruscations, Nothing is so abhorrent to the lust of popular 
admiration as the chaste cheek of taste, the unsoliciting lips of purity. 



biographer of his celebrated parent, Mr. Curran would have done 
well to inquire who had been that parent's decided friends, and 
who his invidious enemies ; who supported liim when his fame 
was tottering, and who assailed him when he was incapable of 
resistance : if he had used this laudable discretion, he would pro- 
bably have learned how to eidogise, and how to censure, with 
more justice and discrimination. 

No gentleman of our day knew Mr. Curran more intimately 
than myseK, although our natural propensities were in many points 
quite uncongeniaL His vanity too frequently misled his judg- 
ment, and he thought himself surrounded by a crowd of friends, 
when he was encompassed by a set of vulgar flatterers : he looked 
quite carelessly at the distinctions of society, and in consequence 
ours was not generally of the same class, and our intercourse 
more frequently at my house than at his. But he could adapt 
hunself to all ranks, and was equally at home at Merrion Square 
or at the Priory. 

The celebrity of Curran's life, and the obscurity of his death ; 
the height of his eminence, and the depth of his depression ; the 
extent of his talents, and the humiliation of his imbecility — ex- 
liibited the greatest and most singular contrasts I ever knew 
among the host of public characters with whom I so long asso- 

At the bar I never saw an orator so capable of producing 
those irresistible transitions of effect which form the true criterion 
of forensic eloquence. But latterly no man became more capable, 
in private society, of exciting drowsiness by prosing, or disgust 
by grossness : such are the inconsistent materials of humanity.* 

I should not allude here to a painful subject as respects the 
late Mr. Currnn, had it not been so commonly spoken of, and so 
prominent an agent in his idterior misfortunes : I mean that un- 

* Humanity is not to be blamed. Had Curran, while in the vigour of his in- 
tellect, cultivated a purer taste, and paid his respects to a higher morality, we 
Avould have been spared the pain of this record of his decay. It is probable that most 
of his private chagrin, as well as the admitted blemishes of his life, proceeded from 
a neglect of timely introspection. But what multitudes fail herein ; and how 
sparingly we should censure. 


barrington's personal sketches 

lucky suit of his against the Eev. Mr. Sandes. I endeavoured 
as much as possible to dissuade him from commencing that 
action, having reason to feel convinced that it must terminate in 
his discomfiture ; but he was obdurate, and had bitter cause to 
lament his obduracy. I did my utmost also to dissuade him from 
his unfortunate difference with Mr. Ponsonby. I told him, as I 
firmly believed, that he was wrong, or at all events imprudent, 
and that his reputation could bear no trifling with : but he did 
not credit me, and that blow felled him to the earth. 




In the early part of my life the Irish press, though supposed to 
be under due restraint, was in fact quite imcontroUed. From the 
time of Dean Swift, and Draper's Letters, its freedom had in- 
creased at inters'als not only as to public but private subjects. 
This was attributable to several curious causes, which combined 
to render the law of libel, although stronger in theory, vastly 
feebler in practice than at the present day ; and whoever takes 
the trouble of looking into the Irish newspapers about the com- 
mencement of the American revolution, and in 1782, will find 
therein some of the boldest writing and ablest libels in the 
English language. Junius was the pivot on which the liberty of 
the press at one moment \ibrated. Liberty was triumphant ; but 
if that precedent were to prevail to the same extent, I am not 
sure it did not achieve too much. 

The law of libel in England, however railed at, appears to me 
upon the freest footing that private or public security can pos- 
sibly admit. The press is not encumbered by any previous 
restraints. Any man may ^vrite, print, and publish, whatever he 
pleases ; and none but his o^ti peers and equals, in two distinct 
capacities, can declare his culpability, or enable the law to punish 
him, as a criminal, for a breach of it. I cannot conceive what 
greater liberty or protection the press can require, or ought to 
enjoy. If a man voluntarily commits an offence against the law 
of Hbel with his eyes open, it is only fair that he should abide by 
the statute that punishes him for doing so. Despotic govern- 
ments employ a previous censorship, in order to cloak their 
crimes and establish their tyranny. England, on the other hand, 
appoints independent judges and sworn jurors to defend her 
liberties ; and hence is confirmed to the press a wholesome lati- 


barrington's personal sketches 

tude of full and fair discussion on every public man and 

The law of libel in Ireland was formerly very loose and 
badly understood, and the courts there had no particular propen- 
sity for multiplying legal difficulties on ticklish subjects. 

The judges were then dependent ; a circumstance which 
might have partially accounted for such causes being less frequent 
than in later times ; but another reason, more extensively ope- 
rating, was, that in those days men who were libelled generally 
took the law into their own hands, and eased the King's Bench 
of great trouble by the substitution of a small-sword for a decla- 
ration, or a case of pistols for a judgment ; and these same articles 
certainly formed a greater check upon the propagation of libels 
than the twelve judges and thirty-six jurors, all together, at the 
present day ; and gave rise to a code of laws very different from 
those we call municipal. A third consideration is, that scolding- 
matches and disputes among soldiers were then never made 
matters of legal inquiry. Military officers are now, by statute, 
held unfit to remain such if they fight one another, whilst for- 
merly they were thought unfit to remain in the army if they did 
not. Formerly they were bound to fight in person, now they 
can fight by proxy, and in Ireland may lure champions to contest 
the matter for them every day in the week (Sunday excepted), 
and so decide their quarrels without the least danger or one drop 
of bloodshed. A few able lawyers, armed with paper and parch- 
ment, will fight for them all day long, and if necessary, all night 
likewise, and that probably for only as much recompense as may 
be sufficient to provide a handsome entertainment to some of the 
spectators and to their pioneer attorney, who is generally bottle- 
holder on these occasions. 

Another curious anomaly is become obvious. If lawyers now 
refuse to pistol each other, they may be scouted out of society, 
though duelling is against the law ! but if military officers take 
a shot at each other, they may be dismissed from the army, 
though fighting is the essence and object of their profession ! 
so that a civilian, by the new lights of society, changes places 



with the soldier. The soldier is bound to be peaceable, and the 
ci^"ilian is forced to be pugnacious — cedent arma togcc ! It is 
curious to conjecture what our next metamorphosis may be. 

The first publication which gave rise, so far as I can remember, 
to decided measures for restraining the Irish press, was a news- 
paper called " Hoy s ^lercury," published nearly fifty, years ago 
by !Mr. Peter Hoy, a printer in Parliament Street, whom I saw 
some time since in his shop on Ormond Quay, in good health, 
and who voted for me on the Dublin election of 1803. 

In this newspaper Mr. Hoy brought forward two fictitious 
characters — one caUed Van Trump, the other Epaphroditus Dod- 
ridge. These he represented as standing together in one of the 
most public promenades of the Irish capital ; and the one, on 
describing the appearance, features, and dress of each passer-by, 
and asking his companion, " Who that was V received, in reply, 
a fuU accoimt of the indiWdual, to such a degree of accuracy as 
to leave no doubt respecting identity, particularly in a place so 
contracted as, comparatively speaking, Dublin then was. In this 
way as much libeUoiis matter was disseminated as would now 
send a publisher to jail for half his life ; and the aflair was so 
warmly and generally taken up, that the lawyers were set to 
work, Peter Hoy sadly terrified, and Tan Trump and Epaphro- 
ditus Dodridge banished from that worthy person's newspaper. 

But the most remarkable observ ation is, that so soon as the 
Irish judges were, in 1782, made by statute independent of the 
crown, the law of libel became more strictly construed, and the 
libellers more severely punished. This can only be accounted 
for by supposing, that while dependent, the judges felt that any 
peculiar rigour might be attributed, in certain instances, less to 
their justice than to their policy ; and being thus sensitive, espe- 
cially in regard to crown cases, they were chary of pushing the 
enactments to their full scope. After the pro\ision which ren- 
dered them independent of the ruling powers, this delicacy 
became needless ; but, nevertheless, a candid judge will always 
bear in mind that austerity is no necessary attribute of justice, 
wliich is always more efficient in its operation when tempered 


barrington's personal sketches 

with mercy. The unsalutary harshness of our penal code has 
become notorious. True, it is not acted up to ; and this is only 
another modification of the evil, since it tempts almost every 
culprit to anticipate his own escape. On the Continent it is 
different. There the punishment which the law provides is cer- 
tainly inflicted ; and the consequence is, that in France there is 
not above one capital conviction to any twenty in England. 

The la.te Lord Clonmell's heart was nearly broken by vexa- 
tions connected with his public functions. He had been in the 
habit of holding parties to excessive bail in libel cases on his 
own fiat, which method of proceeding was at length regularly 
challenged and brought forward ; and, the matter being discussed 
with asperity in parliament, his Lordship was, to his great 
mortification, restrained from pursuing such a course for the 

He had, in the court of King's Bench, used rough language 
towards Mr. Hackett, a gentleman of the bar, the members of 
which profession considered themselves as all assailed in the 
person of a brother barrister. A general meeting was therefore 
called by the father of the bar ; a severe condemnation of his 
Lordship's conduct voted, with only one dissentient voice ; and 
an unprecedented resolution entered into, that " until his Lord- 
ship publicly apologised, no barrister would either take a brief, 
appear in the King's Bench, or sign any pleadings for that court." 

This experiment was actually tried. The judges sat, but no 
counsel appeared ; no cause was prepared, the attorneys all van- 
ished, and their Lordships had the court to themselves. There 
was no alternative ; and next day Lord Clonmell published a 
very ample apology, by advertisement in the newspapers, and, 
with excellent address, made it appear as if written on the even- 
ing of the offence, and therefore voluntary.* 

* An occurrence somewhat of tlie same nature took place, at no very great 
distance of time, at Maryborough assizes, between Mr. Daly, a judge of the Irish 
Court of King's Bench, and Mr. W. Johnson, now judge of the Common Pleas, in 
that country, 

Mr. Daly spoke of committing Mr. Johnson for being rude to him, but, un- 
fortunately, he committed himself ! A meeting was called, at which I was 



This nobleman had built a beautiful house near Dublin, and 
walled-in a deer-park to operate medicinally, by inducing him to 
use more riding exercise than he otherwise would take. Mr. 
Magee, printer of the Dublin Evening Post, who was what they 
call a little cracked, but very acute, one of the men whom his 
Lordship had held to excessive bail, had never forgiven it, and 
purchased a plot of ground imder my Lord's windows, which he 
called "Fiat-hill :" there he entertained the populace of Dublin, 
once a- week, with various droll exhibitions and sports ; such, for 
instance, as asses dressed up with wigs and scarlet robes ; danc- 
ing dogs, in go^vns and wigs as barristers ; soaped pigs, etc. 
These assemblies, although productive of the greatest annoyance 
to his Lordsliip, were not sufficiently riotous to be termed a 
public nuisance, being solely confined to ^Lagee's own field, whicli 
his Lordship had unfortunately omitted to purchase when he 
built his house. 

The Earl, however, expected at length to be clear of his tor- 
mentors' feats, at least for a while ; as Magee was found guilty 
on a charge of libel, and Lord Clonmell would have no qualms 
of conscience in giving justice full scope by keeping him under 
the eye of tlie marshal, and consequently an absentee from 
" Eiat-hill," for a good space of time. 

Magee was brought up for judgment, and pleaded himself, 
in mitigation, that he was ignorant of the publication, not having 
been in Dublin when the libel appeared ; which fact, he added, 
Lord Clonmell well knew. He had been, indeed, entertaining 
the citizens under the Earl's windows, and saw his Lordship 
peeping out from the side of one of them the whole of that day ; 
and the next morning he had overtaken his Lordship riding into 
town. " And by the same token," continued Magee, " your Lord- 
ship was riding cheek by jowl with your own brother, Matthias 

requested to attend, but I declined, and was afterwards informed that my refusal 
had, very unjustly, given offence to both parties. The fact is, that, entertaining 
no very high opinion of the placability of either, I did not choose to interfere, and 
so unluckily rephed that "they might fight dog, figU hear, I would give no 
opinion about the matter." — {Author's' note.) 


bareington's peesonal sketches 

Scott, the tallow-cliaiidler,* from Waterford, and audibly discus- 
sing the price of fat at the very moment I passed you." 

There was no standing this : — a general laugh was inevitable ; 
and his Lordship, with that address for which he was so remark- 
able, affecting to commune a moment with his brother judges, said, 
— "it was obvious, from the poor man's manner, that he was not just 
then in a state to receive definitive judgment ; that the paroxysm 
should be permitted to subside before any sentence could be pro- 
perly pronounced. Eor the present, therefore, he should only be 
given into the care of the marshal, till it was ascertained how far 
the state of his intellect should regulate the court in pronouncing 
its judgment." The marshal saw the crisis, and hurried away 
Magee before he had further opportunity of incensing the chief- 

Theophilus Swift, who, though an Irishman, practised at the 
English bar, gave rise to one of the most curious libel cases that 
ever occurred in Ireland, and which involved a point of very 
great interest and importance. 

Theophilus had two sons. In point of figure, temper, dis- 
position, and propensities, no two brothers in the whole kingdom 
v/ere so dissimilar. Dean Swift, the eldest, was tall, thin, and 
gentlemanly, but withal an unqualified reformer and revolutionist : 
the second, Edmond, was broad, squat, rough, and as fanatical 
an ultra-royalist as the king's dominions afforded. Both were 
clever men in their way. 

The father was a free-thinker in every respect ; fond of his 
sons, although materially different from either, but agreeing with 
the younger in being a professed and extravagant loyalist. He 
was bald-headed, pale, slender, and active — ^with grey eyes, and 
a considerable squint : an excellent classic scholar, and versed 
likewise in modern literature and belles lettres. In short, 
Theophilus Swift laid claim to the title of a sincere, kind-hearted 

* Lord Clonmell and Matthias Scott vied with each other which had the largest 
and most hanging pair of cheeks — vulgarly called jowls. His Lordship's chin was 
a treble one, whilst Matthias's was but doubled ; but then it was broader and 
hung deeper than his brother's. — {Authors note.) 



man ; but was, at the same time, the most visionary of created 
beings. He saw ever}i:hing whimsically — many things erro- 
neously — and nothing like another person. Eternally in motion, 
eitlier talking, writing, fighting, or whatever occupation came 
uppermost, he never remained idle one second whilst awake, 
and I really believe was busily employed even in his slumbers. 

His sons, of course, adopted entirely different pursuits ; and, 
thoucfh affectionate brothers, aOTeed in nothincj save a love for 
each other and attachment to their father. They were both 
^^Titers, and good ones ; both speakers, and bad ones. 

Military etiquette was formerly very conspicuous on some 
occasions. I well recollect when a man bearing the king's com- 
mission was considered as bound to fight anybody and everybody 
that gave him the invitation. Wlien the Duke of York was 
pleased to exchange shots with Colonel Lennox, afterwards Duke 
of Richmond, it was considered by our friend Theophilus as a 
personal offence to every gentleman in England, civil or military ; 
and he held that every man who loved the reigning family should 
challenge Colonel Lennox, until somebody turned up who was 
good marksman enough to penetrate the Colonel, and thus punish 
his presumption. 

Following up his speculative notions, Mr. Swift actually 
challenged Colonel Lennox for liaving had the arrogance to fire 
at the king's son. The Colonel had never seen or even heard of 
this antagonist ; but learning that he was a barrister and a 
gentleman, he considered that, as a military man, he was bound 
to fight him as long as he thought proper. The result, therefore, 
was a meeting ; and Colonel Lennox shot my friend Theophilus 
clean through the carcass, so that, as Sir Callaghan O'Brallaghan 
says, "he made his body shine through the sun!" Swift, ac- 
cording to all precedents on such occasions, first staggered, then 
fell — was carried home, and given over — made his will, and be- 
queathed the Duke of York a gold snuff-box ! However, he 
recovered so completely, that when the Duke of Eichmond went 
to Ireland as Lord Lieutenant, I saw Swift at his Grace's first 
levee, most anxious for the introduction. His turn came ; and 

VOL. I. Q 


bareington's peesonal sketches 

without ceremony he said to the Duke, by way of a pun, that 
" the last time he had the honour of waiting on his Grace, as 
Colonel Lennox, he received better entertainment — for that his 
Grace had given him a ball ! " 

" True," said the Duke, smiling ; and now that I am Lord 
Lieutenant, the least I can do is to give you a brace of them ! " 
and in due time he sent Swift two special invitations to the 
balls, to make these terms consistent with his Excellency's com- 

Swift, as will hence be inferred, was a romantic personage. 
In fact, he showed the most decisive determination not to die in 
obscurity, by whatever means his celebrity might be acquired. 

A savage, justly termed the monster, had, during Swift's 
career at the bar, practised the most horrid and mysterious crime 
we have yet heard of — namely, that of stabbing women indis- 
criminately in the street, deliberately and without cause. He 
was at length taken and ordered for trial : but so odious and de- 
testable was his crime, that not a gentleman of the bar would 
act as his advocate. This was enough to induce Swift to accept 
the office. He argued truly, that every man must be presumed 
innocent till by legal proof he appears to be guilty, and that 
there was no reason why the monster should be excepted from 
the general rule, or that actual guilt should be presumed on the 
charge against him more than any other charge against any other 
person : that prejudice was a prima facie injustice, and that the 
crime of stabbing a lady with a weapon which was only calcu- 
lated to wound, could not be greater than that of stabbing her 
to the heart, and destroying her on the instant : that if the charge 
had been cutting the lady's throat, he would have had his choice 
of advocates. He spoke and published his defence of the 
monster, who, however, was found guilty, and not half punished 
for his atrocity. 

Theophilus had a competent private fortune ; but as such 
men as he must somehow be always dabbling in what is called 
in Ireland " a bit of a law-suit," a large percentage of his rents 
never failed to get into the pockets of the attorneys and counsel- 



lors ; and after he had recovered from the Duke of Eichmond's 
perforation, and the monster had been incarcerated, he deter- 
mined to change his site, settle in his native country, and place 
his second son in the university of Dublin. 

Suffice it to say, that he soon commenced a fracas with all 
the Fellows of the university, on account of their ''not doing 
justice somehow," as he said, " to the cleverest lad in Ireland ! " 
and, according to his usual habit, he determined at once to 
punish several of the offenders by penmanship, and regenerate 
the great university of Ireland by a powerful, pointed, per- 
sonal, and undisguised libel against its Fellows. 

Theophilus was not without some plausible grounds to work 
upon ; but he never considered that a printed libel did not admit 
of any legal justification. He at once put half-a-dozen of the 
FeUows Ivors de socUU, by proclaiming them to be perjurers, pro- 
fligates, impostors, etc. etc. ; printed, published, and circulated 
tliis his eulogium with all the activity and zeal which belonged 
to his nature \ and the main tenor of his charge was a most 
serious imputation and a very home one. 

By the statutes of the Irish university, strict celibacy is re- 
quired ; and Mr. Swift stated ''that the FeUows of that university, 
being also clergymen, had sworn on the Holy Evangelists that 
they would strictly obey and keep sacred these statutes of the 
uni\'ersity, in manner, form, letter, and spirit, as enjoined by 
their charter from the virgin queen. But that, notwithstanding 
such their solemn oath, several of these Fellows and clergymen, 
fl\ in the face of the Holy Evangelists and of Queen Elizabeth ; 
and forgetful of morality, religion, common decency, and good 
example, had actually taken to themselves each a woman, who 
went by the name of Miss Such-a-one, but who had undergone, 
or was supposed to have undergone, the ceremony and consum- 
mation of marriage with such and such a perjured Fellow and 
parson of Dublin university," etc. etc. ; and " that he was obliged 
to take away his son for fear of contamination," etc. etc. 

It is easy to conceive that this publication, from the pen of 
a very gentlemanly, well-educated barrister, naturally made no 


bareington's personal sketches 

small bustle and fuss amongst a portion of the university men. 
Those who had kept out of the scrape were not reported to be in 
any state of deep mourning on the subject, as their piety was 
the more conspicuous ; and it could not hurt the feelings of any 
of them to reflect that he might possibly get a step in his pro- 
motion, on account of the defection of those seniors whose 
hearts might be broken, or removal made necessary, by the 
never-ending perseverance of this tremendous barrister, who had 
christened his son Dean Swift, that he might appear a relative of 
that famous churchman, the patron and idol of the Irish people. 
The gentlemen of the long robe were, of course, delighted 
with the occurrence : they had not for a long time met with so 
full and fair an opportunity of expending every sentence of their 
wit, eloquence, law, and logic> as in taking part in this cele- 
brated controversy. I was greatly rejoiced at finding on my 
table a retainer against the Fellows and parsons of Trinity Col- 
lege, whom I had always considered as a narrow-minded and 
untalented body of men, getting from £1000 to £1500 a-year 
each for teaching several hundred students how to remain igno- 
rant of most of those acquirements that a well-educated gentle- 
man ought to be master of : it is true, the students had a fair 
chance of becoming good Latin scholars, of gaining a little Greek 
and Hebrew, and of understanding several books of Euclid with 
three or four chapters of Locke on the Human Understanding, 
and a sixpenny treatise on logic written by a very good divine, 
one of the body, to prove clearly that sophistry is superior to 
reason.""^ This being my opinion of them, I felt no qualms of 
conscience in undertaking the defence of Theophilus Swift, Esq., 

* Nothing can so completely stamp the character of the university of Dublin, 
as their suppression of the only school of eloquence in Ireland — ' ' The Historical 
Society ; " — a school from which arose some of the most distinguished, able, and 
estimable characters that ever appeared in the forum, or in the parliament of Ire- 
land : this step was what the blundering Irish would call — "advancing back- 
wards." — {Author's note.) 

This famous society has been for some time rehabilitated, and is daily advanc- 
ing in reputation. Since its revival, in 1843, several of its members have greatly 
distinguished themselves in public. 



tlioiigli most undoubtedly a libeller. It is only necessary to say, 
that Lord Clonmell, who had been, I believe, a sizer himself in 
that university, and in truth, all the judges (and with good 
reason) felt indignant at Theophilus S\^dft's so \iolently assailing 
and disgracLQg, in the face of the empu-e, the only university in 
Ireland — thus attacking the clergy though he defended a monster. 

An information was in due form gi^anted against Theophilus, 
and as he could neither deny the fact nor plead a justification to 
the libel, of course we had but a bad case of it. But the worse 
the case, the harder an Irish barrister always worked to make it 
appear a good one. I beg here to observe, that the Irish bar 
were never so decorous and mild at that time, as to give up 
their briefs in desperate cases, as I have seen done in England — 
politely to save, as asserted, public time, and conciliate their Lord- 
ships : thus sending their clients out of court, because they 
thought they were not defensible. On the contrary, as I have 
said, the worse the case entrusted to an Irish barrister, the more 
zealously did he labour and fight for his client. If he thought 
it indefensible, why take a fee ? but his motto was, " while there 
is life there is^ hope."* In short, they always stuck to their 
cause to the very last gasp ! — and it may appear fabulous to a 
steady regular EngHsh expounder of the law, that I have re- 
peatedly seen a cause wliich the bar, the bench, and the jury, 
seemed to think was iiTcvocably lost, — after a few hours' rub- 
bing and puffing, like the exertions of the Humane Society, 
brought into a state of restored animation ; and, after another 
hour or two of cross-examination and perseverance, the judges 
and jury have changed their impressions, and sent home the 
cause quite alive in the pockets of the owner and lawful solicitor. 

In making these observations, I cannot but mention a gen- 
tleman then at the very head of the bar, as Prime Serjeant of 
Ireland, ]Mr. James Fitzgerald. I knew him long in great prac- 
tice, and never saw him give up one case whilst it had a single 
point to rest upon, or he a pufi' of breath left to defend it ; and 

* Here I have suppressed a dozen lines of a coarse and unmannerly tirade 
Hgaiust Irisb barristers. Without wit or truth, they merely fouled the page. 

230 bakrington's peesonal sketches 

I can venture to say, that if the Eight Honourable James Fitz- 
gerald, had been sent ambassador to Stockholm in the place of 
the Eight Honourable Yesey Fitzgerald, his cher gargon, he would 
have worked Bernadotte to the stumps, merely by treating him 
just as if he were a motion in the Court of Exchequer. There 
was no treaty which the Government of England might have 
ordered him to insist upon, that he would not have carried, at 
all events in a degree. 

And now, reader ! I have in my preface stated my objections 
to the epithet gentle ; v/e will go back to Theophilus Swift, and 
the college, and the King's Bench. The trial at length came on, 
and there were decidedly more parsons present than I believe 
ever appeared in any court of justice of the same dimensions. 
The court set out full gallop against us ; nevertheless, we worked 
on — twice twelve judges could not have stopped us ! I examined 
the most learned man of the whole university, Dr. Barret, a 
little, greasy, shabby, croaking, round-faced vice-provost : he 
knew of nothing on earth, save books and guineas — never went 
out, held but little intercourse with mankind. I worked at him 
unsuccessfully for more than an hour ; not one decisive sentence 
could I get him to pronounce : at length, he grew quite tired of 
me, and I thought to conciliate him by telling him that his 
father had christened me. "Indeed!" exclaimed he: ''Oh! I 
did not know you were a Christian ! " At this unexpected repar- 
tee the laugh was so strong against me that I found myself 
muzzled. My colleagues worked as hard as I : but a seventy- 
horse power could not have moved the court. It was, however, 
universally admitted that there was but one little point against 
us out of a hundred which the other side had urged : that point 
too had only three letters in it : yet it upset all our arguments : 
that talismanic word "' law" was more powerful than two 
speeches of five hours each ; and, by the unanimous concurrence 
of the court and jury, Theophilus Swift was found guilty of writ- 
ing, publishing, and undoubtedly proving, that certain parsons, 
Fellows of Dublin University, had been living (conjugally) with 
certain persons of an entirely different sex : and, in consequence, 



he was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment in his Majesty's 
gaol of Newgate, where he took up his residence with nearly two 
hundred and forty felons and handy pickpockets. 

My poor visionary friend was in a sad state of depression ; 
but heaven had a banquet in store for him which more than 
counterbalanced all his discomfitures : an incident that I really 
think even the oracle of Delphos never would have thought of 

The Eev. Doctor Burrows was, of all, the most inveterate enemy 
and active prosecutor of my friend Theophilus : he was one of 
those who, in despite of God and Queen Elizabeth, had fallen in 
love, and united his fortunes and person with the object of it, 
and thereby got within the circle of Swift's anti-moralists. This 
reverend person determined to make the public hate Theophilus 
as much as he did himself ; and forgetting the doctrine of libel, 
and the precedent wliich he had liimseK just helped to establish, 
set about to slay the sla3^er, and wTite a quietus for Theophilus 
Swift during the rest of his days ! Thus, hugging himself in all 
the luxury of complete revenge on a fallen foe, Dr. Burrows pro- 
duced a libel at least as unjustifiable against the prisoner as the 
prisoner had promulged against liim : and having printed, pub- 
lished, and circulated the same, his Eeverence and ISIadame con- 
ceived they had executed full justice on the enemy of marriage 
and the clergy. But, alas ! they reckoned without their host : 
no sooner had I received a copy of this redoubtable pamphlet, 
than I hastened to my friend Theophilus, whom, from a state of 
despondency and unhappiness, I had the pleasure, in haK-an-hour, 
of seeing at least as happy and more pleased than any king in 
Europe. It is unnecessary to say more than that I recommended 
an immediate prosecution of the Eev. Doctor Burrows, for a false, 
gross, and malicious libel against Theophilus Swift, Esq. Never 
was any prosecution better founded, or more clearly and effec- 
tually supported ; and it took complete effect. The reverend 
prosecutor, now culprit in his turn, was sentenced to one-haK of 
Swift's term of imprisonment, and sent off to the same gaol.* 

* What would tlie world be without Ireland ! without its social and profes- 
sional annals ! But the sequel obscures all inventions, fables, and fancies. 


barrington's personal sketches 

The learned Fellows were astounded ; the university so far 
disgraced ; and Theophilus Swift immediately published both 
trials, with observations, notes critical and historical, etc. 

But, alas ! the mortification of the reverend Fellow did not 
end here. On arriving at Newgate, as the governor informed 
me, the Doctor desired a room as high up as could be had, that 
he might not be disturbed whilst remaining in that mansion. 
The governor informed him, with great regret, that he had not 
even a pigeon-hole in the gaol unoccupied at the time, there 
being two hundred and forty prisoners, chiefly pickpockets, many 
of whom were waiting to be transported ; and that, till these 
were got rid of, he had no private room that would answer his 
reverence ; but there was a very neat and good chamber in which 
were only two beds — one occupied by a respectable and polite 
gentleman ; and if the Doctor could manage in this way mean- 
while, he might depend on a preference the moment there should 
be a vacancy. Necessity has no law ; and the Doctor, forced to 
acquiesce, desired to be shown to the chamber. On entering, the 
gentleman and he exchanged bows, but in a moment both started 
involuntarily at sight of each other. On one was to be seen the 
suppressed smile of mental triumph, and on the other the grin of 
mortification. But Swift, naturally the ]Qink of politeness, gave 
no reason for an increase of the Doctor's chagrin. As the sun- 
beams put out a fire, so did a sense of his folly flash so strong 
upon the Doctor's reason, that it extinguished the blaze of his 
anger ; and the governor having left them, in a short time an 
eclaircissement took place between these two fellow-lodgers in a 
room fourteen feet by twelve ! I afterwards learned that they 
jogged on very well together till the expiration of their sentences, 
and I never heard of any libel published by either the Doctor or 
Swift afterwards. 




A COMPAEATIVE scale of the talents of the celebrated men of my 
day I have frequently attempted, but never with success. Though 
I knew most of them both in private and public, my mind 
could never settle itseK to any permanent opinion on so compli- 
cated a subject. Nevertheless, I quite agi-ee with the maxim of 
Pope — "that the noblest study of mankind is man !" and, conse- 
quently, the analysis of human character has ever formed one of 
my greatest amusements, though all endeavours to reduce my 
observations to a system have proved decidedly idle. Hence, I 
have at times grown out of humour with the science altogether, 
and made up my mind that there never was a more unprofitable 
occupation than that of determining a public character whilst 
the individual still lived. It is only after the grave has closed on 
men — when they can change no more, and their mortal acts are 
for ever terminated — that theii' respecti^'e natures become truly 
developed. This is a reflection that must surely force itself upon 
the mind and heart of every observant man. 

The depressions of adversity generally leave the ostensible 
character pretty much as it appeared originally, save that it 
occasionally throws out either abjectness or fortitude, and that 
talent is sometimes elicited in a greater proportion than the 
sufferer was imagined to possess. But I have always seen high 
prosperity the true and almost infallible touchstone : and since 
I have had leisure to observe the world, its effects upon my fellow- 
countrymen have proved more remarkable than upon the people 
of any other country — and indeed, in many instances, thoroughly 

Eloquence, a first-rate quality in my scale, is that for which 
the Irish were eminently celebrated. But the exercise of this 


barrington's personal sketches 

gift depends on so many accidental circumstances, and is withal 
so mucli regulated by fashion, that its decline is scarcely surpris- 
ing. So few possess it, indeed, that it has become the interest 
of the bar, the only body in Ireland accustomed to extempore 
public speaking, to undervalue and throw it into the background, 
which they have effectually succeeded in doing. A dull fellow 
can cry "Come to the point!" as well as the most eloquent 

Pulpit eloquence is, in my opinion, by far the most import- 
ant of any : the interest in which it is enlisted is, or ought to be, 
tremendously absorbing ; and in consequence, it is deserving of 
the highest and most persevering cultivation. Yet, what is the 
fact ? — Unless we resort to the temples of sectarianism, and run 
a risk of being annoyed by vulgarity and fanaticism, we have 
little or no chance of meeting with a preacher who seems in 
earnest. Polemical controversy may be carried on between 
priests without the least tincture of hearty zeal, and bishops 
may think it quite sufficient to leave tlie social duties and car- 
dinal virtues to work their way by force of their own intrinsic 
merits ; yet these are the points whereon a really eloquent and 
zealous minister might rouse the attention of his hearers to effec- 
tual purpose, and succeed in detaching them from methodistical 
cant and rant, which, at present, merely in consequence of appa- 
rent heartiness and a semblance of inspiration, draw away both 
old and young — both sensible and illiterate — from the tribe of 
cold metaphysical expositors who affect to illustrate the Christian 
tenets in our parochial congregations. 

Nothing can better exemplify the latter observations than a 
circumstance connected with the island of Guernsey. There are 
seven Protestant churches in that island, where the usual service 
is gone through in the usual manner. A parcel of Methodists, 
however, professed themselves discontented with our Litany, 
established a different form of worship, and set up a meeting- 
house of their own, giving out that they could save two souls for 
every one that a common Protestant parson could manage. In 
due time they inveigled a set of fanatic persons to form a singing- 



choir, which employed itself in chanting from morning till night ; 
every girl who wanted to put her voice in tune being brought by 
her mother to sing psalms with the Methodists. This vocal bait, 
indeed, took admirably ; and, in a short time, the congregations 
of the seven churches might have been well accommodated in 
one. On the other hand, although the meeting-house was en- 
larged, its portals even were thronged on every occasion, multi- 
tudes, both inside and out, all squalling away to the very stretch 
of their voices. 

The dean and clerg}^, perceiving clearly that singing had 
beaten praying out of the field, made a due representation to the 
bishop of Winchester, and requested the instructions of that right 
reverend dignitary how to bring back the wayward flock to their 
natural folds and shepherds. The bishop replied, that as the 
desertion appeared to be in consequence of the charms of melody, 
the remedy was plain — namely, to get hettcr singers than the 
^lethodists, and to sing better tunes ; in which case the Protest- 
ant churches would, no doubt, soon recover every one of theu* 

Not having for many years heard a sermon in Ireland, I am 
not aware of the precise state of its pulpit oratory at present. 
But of this I am quite sure, that politics and controversy are not 
the true attributes of Clu-istian worship ; and that, whenever 
they are made the topic of spiritual discourse, the whole congre- 
gation would be justified in dozing. 

I have heard many parsons attempt eloquence, but very few 
of them, in my idea, succeeded. The present Archbishop of 
Dublin* worked hard for the prize, and a good number of the 

* Dr. Magee, author of a text-book on the ""Atonement," used in the Dublin 
University. Dr. Whately succeeded him, a man of profoundly heavy parts, but 
who affected wit. He wrote an excellent book on "Ehetoric," was very volumi- 
nous on trifles ; but whatever English he had was thoroughly consumed by the 
"Rhetoric." He was as kind a man as ever breathed ; and his good name will 
long surWve his miserable puns and more stupid pamphlets. These remarks can, 
by no means, lessen the value of his voliunes to the library of a country clergy- 
man, who will find in them much common sense, and many maxims of moderation 
and Christian benevolence. 

If the archbishop was not witty himself, he was often, without his suspecting 


barrington's personal sketches 

Fellows of Dublin College tried their tongues to little purpose : 
in truth, the preaching of one minister rendered me extremely 
fastidious respecting eloquence from the pulpit. 

This individual was Dean Kirwan, now no more, who pro- 
nounced the most impressive orations I ever heard from the 
members of any profession, at any era. It is true, he spoke for 
effect, and therefore directed his flow of eloquence according to 
its apparent influence. I have listened to this man actually 
with astonishment ! He was a gentleman by birth, had been 
educated as a Eoman Catholic priest, and officiated some time in 
Ireland in that capacity ; but afterwards conformed to the Pro- 
testant church, and was received ad eundem. His extraordinary 
powers soon brought him into notice ; and he was promoted by 
Lord Westmorland to a living ; afterwards became a dean ; and 
would, most probably, have been a bishop ; — ^but he had an in- 
tractable turn of mind, entirely repugnant to the usual means of 
acquiring high preferment. It was much to be lamented, that 
the independence of principle and action which he certainly pos- 
sessed was not accompanied by any reputation for philanthropic 
qualities. His justly high opinion of himself seemed to over- 
whelm every other consideration. 

Dr. Kirwan's figure, and particularly his countenance, were 
not prepossessing ; there was an air of discontent in his looks, 
and a sharpness in his features, which, in the aggregate, amounted 
to something not distant from repulsiveness. His manner of 
preaching was of the French school : He was vehement for 
a while, and then, becoming, or affecting to become, exhausted, 
he held his handkerchief to his face : a dead silence ensued ; he 
had skill to perceive the precise moment to recommence ; and 
another blaze of declamation burst upon the congregation, and 
another fit of exhaustion was succeeded by another pause. The 

it, the cause of wit in others. Some one was extolling the matchless firmness of 
the British squares in sustaining the furious charges of the French Guards at 
"Waterloo. " What was their coolness to ours ?" exclaimed Dr. X. " Had they to 
stand the sliock of Whately's charge, as we did the other day, they'd soon dis- 
perse, I promise you." 



men began to wonder at his eloquence, the women grew nervous 
at his denunciations. His tact rivalled his talent ; and, at the 
conclusion of one of his finest sentences, a " celestial exhaustion," 
as I heard a lady call it, often terminated his discourse abruptly. 
If the subject was charity, every purse was laid largely under 
contribution. In the church of St. Peter's, where he preached 
an annual charity sermon, the usual collection, which had been 
under £200, was raised by the Dean to £1100. I knew a gentle- 
man myself, who threw both his purse and watch into the 
plate ! 

Yet the oratory of tliis celebrated preacher would have 
answered in no other profession than his own, and served to 
complete my idea of the true distinction between pulpit, bar, 
and parliamentary eloquence. Kirwan in the pulpit, Curran at 
the bar,* and Sheridan in the senate, were the three most 
effective orators I ever recollect, in their respective departments. 

Kirwan's talents seemed to me to be limited entirely to 
elocution. I had much intercourse with him at the house of 
Mr. Hely, of Tooke's Court. AAHiilst residing in Dublin I met 
him at a variety of places ; and my overbought expectations, 
in fact, were a good deal disappointed. His style of address 
had nothing engaging in it ; nothing either dignified or graceful. 
In his conversation there was neither sameness nor variety — 
ignorance nor information ; and yet, somehow or other, he 
avoided insipidity. His amour propre was the most prominent 
of his superficial qualities ; and a bold, manly independence of 
mind and feeling, the most obvious of his deeper ones. I believe 
he was a good man,t if he could not be termed a very amiable 

* Of those two, this is wonderful praise ; and coming from Barrington, the 
greatest master of skilled composition of all his contemporaries, must be accepted 
almost unreservedly. But the effect is one thing ; the critical quality another ; 
and the property in the thought another. Most of Kirwan's ideas were born in 
France ; Curran's were all the progeny of the soil. 

+ Is not this a contradiction ? He has been flatly represented before as defi- 
cient in philanthropic qualities ; how can he be a good man who wants the chief 
characteristics of goodness ? Kirwan was as unfeeling and selfish a fellow as ever 


barrington's personal sketches 

one ; and learned, although niggardly in communicating what 
he knew. 

I have remarked thus at large upon Dean Kirwan, because 
he was by far the most eloquent and effective pulpit orator I 
ever heard, and because I never met any man whose character I 
felt myself more at a loss accurately to pronounce upon. It has 
been said that his sermons were adroitly extracted from passages 
in the celebrated discourses of Saurin, the Huguenot, who 
preached at the Hague, grandfather to the late attorney-general 
of Ireland. It may be so ; and in that case all I can say is, that 
Kirwan was a most judicious selector, and that I doubt if the 
eloquent writer made a hundredth part of the impression of his 
eloquent plagiarist. 

I should myself be the plagiarist of a hundred writers, if I 
attempted to descant upon the parliamentary eloquence of 
Sheridan.* It only seems necessary to refer to his speech on 
Mr. Hasting's trial ;t at least, that is sufficient to decide me as 
to his immense superiority over all his rivals in splendid decla- 
mation. Most great men have their individual points of supe- 
riority, and I am sure that Sheridan could not have preached, 
nor Kirwan have pleaded. Curran could have done both ; Grat- 
tan neither ; but, in language calculated to rouse a nation, 
Grattan, whilst young, far exceeded either of them. 

I have often met Sheridan, but never knew him intimately. 
He was my senior and my superior. Whilst he was in high 

* Most felicitously said. The opinion concluding this paragraph is very dis- 
criminative and just. One thing is wanting. In Sheridan's fire the nation would 
miss Grattan's sincerity. Soul never glowed more ardently than in Grattan ; and 
his tongue was true to it. 

t I had an opportunity of knowing that Mr. Sheridan was offered £1000 for 
that speech by a bookseller, the day after it was spoken, provided he would write 
it out correctly from the notes taken, before the interest had subsided ; and yet, 
although he certainly had occasion for money at the time, and assented to the 
proposal, he did not take the trouble of writing a line of it ! The publisher was 
of course displeased, and insisted on his performing his promise : upon which 
Sheridan laughingly replied in the vein of Falstaff : — " No, Hal ! — were I at the 
strappado, I would do nothing by compulsion / " He did it at length — but too 
late ! — and, as I heard, was (reasonably enough !) not paid. — {Author's note.) 



repute, I was at laborious duties : whilst lie was eclipsing every- 
body in fame in one country, I was labouring liard to gain any 
in another. He professed whiggism : I did not understand it, 
and I have met very few patriots who appear to have acted even 
on their own definition thereof* 

* The following extract so comprehensively and closely embraces some of the 
finest characteristics of popular oratory and orators, that I readily append it here, 
in compliance with the wish and recommendation of an eloquent lawyer who is 
also a sound critic. 

""Without being in the least influenced by popular opinion, I do not hesitate 
to assign to O'Connell an honourable place amongst the best orators of any 
age. He cannot, indeed, be compared in detail to any particular one who is worthy 
of him. In many features, however, and these the most noble, he resembles 
Demosthenes and Brougham. 

" In strength and clearness he is equal to either. Of all three the grand charac- 
teristic is energy ; but the energ}^ of the Celt, though more active, is less intense 
than that of the Greek, and more intense than that of the Scot, though not so 
durable or expansive. Of method, which, although less an endowment than an 
acquisition, is yet albeit a property of great wit, they had an equal share, but from 
different sources, and displaying a different organism. In his arrangement, 
Demosthenes observes the rhetorical rules without being burthened or narrowed 
by them. Brougham, early fashioned by mathematical discipline, is almost 
as systematic as a geometer. He keeps the subject always in view, but this 
severity 'does not impoverish or straiten him, for the stores of his learning are 
so vast and so various that his materials would embarrass, were it not for his skill 
in disposing them. O'Connell is generally, even in his set speeches, negligent 
of method. He was,'notwithstanding, capable of laying down a judicious plan, 
but he seems to have been impatient of the trouble. "When he gave sufficient con- 
sideration to a subject, he put his materials into order with rapidity and success. 
In general, he sought no more than a good beginning, and left the sequel to 
chance ; for he depended on his adroitness in selecting, combining, and com- 
pounding, according to the demands of the occasion. But even on state occasions, 
when he came forward, prepared and trimmed, he could ill conceal the toga of 
the pleader. Some of his ablest efforts are constructed on the scheme of a law 
argument ; but it must be remembered that some law arguments are fine speci- 
mens of composition. "Whatever be the subject of disquisition, learning will 
always afford materials to give scope to method. In this respect Brougham had 
the advantage over almost all the public men of his time, while the springs of 
knowledge supplied O'Connell with but few streams to be skilfully conducted 
into a common channel ; so that if, in the point under consideration, he appears 
inferior to his illustrious contemporary, it is rather from lack of means than of 

"In argument the Athenian con\'inces more by the loftiness of his manner 


barkington's personal sketches 

than tlie strictness of his logic ; and while he is not greater than the Briton in 
force, he is less in philosophical dignity. In dialectic power, the Hibernian is on 
a level with either, but above both in acuteness and subtlety. Whilst in the 
matter of the argument there may be much parity, in the conduct of it there is 
little. Demosthenes is vehement, vituperative, insolent ; Brougham, impassioned, 
haughty, or derisive ; O'Connell, impetuous, abusive, or insinuating. The first is 
never gay or embellished ; the second, never indolent or frivolous ; the third is 
always robust and busy — generally in a genial humour — and with a nosegay, 
whether fresh or faded. 

"Versatility renders O'Connell the most agreeable and entertaining. The 
gain, however, which results from it, does not always compensate for the trifles 
employed to support it. Many feel Demosthenes dry for want of those jets of 
vivacity with which O'Connell sprinkles his parterre and refreshes his flowers ; 
but, on the other hand, the former imparts an enthusiasm which renders one insen- 
sible of fatigue, and compels him to persevere to the end. O'Connell understood, 
but perhaps undervalued, connection and continuity. He frequently breaks off 
to present you vath pleasant scenery ; gives you time to contemplate the land- 
scape ; and then calls you back to resume the journey with regaled senses and 
revived energy. Brougham does not draw you aside so often, or so capriciously ; 
and when he does, it is not to lighten your burden, or to beguile your way, but 
to amplify the understanding — to illustrate his proofs — to triple the light, and 
to beautify the philosophy. Demosthenes never deviates in search of fascinating 
prospects and cheerful repose ; he is stern, unaccommodating, unmerciful. He 
needs no rest himself, and gives you none. You are whirled to the destined 
goal — out of breath, but exulting in the triumphant career. Listen for a moment 
to any of the three, and your will is shorn of her wings ; she is no longer at liberty, 
yields to the imperious authority of the Greek, the powerful sorcery of the Scot, 
or the soft seduction of the Irishman. 

"In imagination, that most rare and fructifying gift of the mind; which 
creates, animates, and illumines ; which engenders tender sentiments, quickens 
noble passions, and sheds celestial odour over the soul — in imagination. Brougham 
holds the first place, and Demosthenes the second ; though both must give way 
to Burke, and even he to Sheridan. But in fancy, exuberant in all delights, 
which is often hard to be distinguished from imagination, to O'Connell rightfully 
belongs the not undisputed sceptre. 

"Demosthenes, O'Connell, and Brougham, are equally remarkable for the 
solidity of their intellect ; but in the quality of comprehensiveness the last has 
the largest share. O'Connell shows his knowledge of the human heart more fre- 
quently than either of the others. If he did not understand mankind better, he 
accommodated himself to them more ; and was better fitted to do so by the 
pliancy of his passions and the bent of his opinions. Consequently, he used men, 
and especially the ignorant, more successfully. In his sway over the affections, 
he is approached by neither ; and taking into consideration the diff'erent audience, 
and diff'erent circumstances, whatever we may have to deduct from his oratory 
must be recompensed by our praise of him as an orator. In one respect he stands 



conspicuous — he is almost tlie only man that ever flattered democracy, and visibly 
improved it. 

' ' Each attains to the same height, but not with the same facility or gi-audeur. 
Demosthenes leaves the earth most naturally, mounts most swiftly, moves with 
the ease of instinct ; but at every cleaving of his wings the poles thunder. "When 
his rivals soar, they gain the emp}Tean by a succession of mighty eff'orts, and with 
the resounding as of mighty waters ; Brougham keeping his undazzled eye fixed 
on the orb of day ; and O'Connell survej'ing the smiling fields of air. 

* ' Between the merits of the two modern masters, whoever ventures to decide, 
let him not forget, that while the genius of Brougham was aided by consummate 
art, O'Connell's fame rests upon his genius alone. "What the one produced was 
the mature progeny of patient gestation ; that of the other, a sudden birth. The 
one brought his works to perfection by repeated touches of skill ; the other, to 
wonderful excelleuce by a single felicitous stroke. In Brougham we admii'e the 
majestic proportions and classical symmetry ; in O'Connell, the cluster of youth- 
ful charms, adorning manly strength, and glowing with life and joy." — Townseud 
Young's Uist<>ry of Ireland. 

VOL. I. 


baurington's personal sketches 


I HAVE often mused on the unfortunate history and fate of the 
late Queen Caroline. It is not for me to discuss the merits or 
■demerits of her case, or to give any opinion on the conduct of 
the ruling powers in the business. I shall only observe, that 
though it was not possible to foresee such events as subsequently 
took place, I had, from the time of my being presented to that 
Princess by Lord Stowell, felt an u.naccountable presentiment 
that her destiny would not be a happy one. 

Upon the close of the " delicate investigation," a drawing- 
room of the most brilliant description was held at St. James's, 
to witness the Princess's* reception by her Majesty, Queen 
Charlotte. I doubt if a more numerous and sparkling assemblage 
had ever been collected in that ancient palace ; curiosity had no 
small share in drawing it together. 

The sun w^as that day in one of his most glaring humours ; 
he shone with unusual ardour into the windows of the antique 
ball-room ; seeming as if he wished at the same moment to gild 
and melt down that mass of beauty and of diamonds which was 
exposed to all his fervour. I was necessitated to attend in my 
official dress : the frizzled peruke, loaded with powder and 
pomatum, covering at least half the body of the sufferer, was 
wedged in amongst the gaudy nobles. The dress of every person 
who w^as so fortunate as to come in contact with the wigs, like 
the cameleon, instantly imbibed the colour of the thing it came 
in collision with ; and after a short intimacy, many a full-dress 

A genitive very awkward to gentlemen. Tlie vulgar laudably accommodate 
tlie organs of speech by putting the accent on tlie second syllable. I hope, for 
their own sakes, this hint will be taken. 



black received a large portion of my silvery hue, and many a 
splendid manteau participated in tlie materials wliicli render 
powder adhesive. 

Of all the distressed beings in that heated assembly, I was 
most amused by Sir Vicary Gibbs, then attorney-general. Hard- 
featured and impatient — his wig a\yrj — his solids yielding out 
all their essence — he appeared as if he had just arisen, though 
not like Venus, from the sea. Every muscle of his angular 
features seemed busily employed in forming hieroglyphic impre- 
cations ! Though amused, I never pitied any person more — 
except myself. Wedged far too tight to permit even a heaving 
sigh at my own imprisonment, I could only be consoled by a 
perspective view of the gracious Charlotte, who stood stoutly 
before the throne like the stump of a baronial castle to which 
age gives greater dignity. I had, however, in due rotation, the 
honour of being presented, and of kissing the back of her 
Majesty's hand. 

I am, of course, profoundly ignorant of her Majesty's manner 
in her family, but certainly her public receptions were the most 
gracious in the world : there could not be a more engaging, kind, 
and condescending address than that of the Queen of England. 
It is surprising how different a Queen appears in a drawing-room 
and in a newspaper. 

At length the number of presentations had diminished the 
pressure, and a general stir in the crowd announced something 
uncommon about to take place. It was the approach of the 
Princess of AVales. 

Whoever considered the painfully delicate situation in which 
this lady was then placed, could not help feeling a sympathy for 
her apparent sufferings. Her father, the Duke of Brunswick, 
had not long before expired of his wounds received at Jena ; 
and after her own late trials it was, I thought, most inauspicious 
that deep mourning should be her attire on her reception — as if 
announcing at once the ill-fate of herself and of her parent : her 
dress was decked with a multiplicity of black bugles. She 


bareington's personal sketches 

entered the drawing-room leaning on the arm of the Dnke of 
Cumberland, and seemed to require the support. To her it 
must, in truth, have been a most awful moment. The subject of 
the investigation, the loss of her natural protector, and the 
doubts she must have felt as to the precise nature of her recep- 
tion by the Queen, altogether made a deep impression on every 
one present. She tottered to tl^e throne : the spectacle grew 
interesting in the highest degree. I was not close ; but a low 
buzz ran round the room that she had been received most 
kindly, and a few moments sufficed to show that this was her 
own impression. 

After she had passed the ordeal, a circle was formed for her 
beyond the throne. I wished for an introduction, and Lord 
Stowell, then Sir William Scott, did me that honour. I had felt, 
in common with everybody, for the depression of spirits with 
which the princess had approached her Majesty. I, for my part, 
considered her in consequence as full of sensibility at her own 
situation ; but, so far as her subsequent manner showed, I was 
totally deceived. The trial was at an end, the Queen had been 
kind, and a paroxysm of spirits seemed to succeed and mark a 
strange contrast to the manner of her entry. I thought it was 
too sudden and too decisive : she spoke much, and loud, and 
rather bold : it seemed to me as if all recollection of what had 
passed was rapidly vanishing. So far it pleased me to see re- 
turning happiness ; but still the hind of thing made no favour- 
able impression on my mind. Her circle was crowded ; the 
presentations numerous ; but, on the whole, she lost ground in 
my estimation. 

This incident proved to me the palpable distinction between 
feeling and sensibility ; words which people misconstrue and 
mingle without discrimination. I then compared the two ladies. 
The bearing of Queen Charlotte certainly was not that of a 
heroine in romance, but she was the best-bred and most graceful 
lady of her age and figure I ever saw ; so kind and conciliating 
that one could scarcely believe her capable of anything but 



benevolence. She appeared plain, old, and of dark complexion ; 
but she was unaffected, and commanded that respect wliich 
private ^drtues ever will obtain for public character. I liked her 
vastly better than her daughter-in-law. Indeed I never could 
reconcile myself, in any instance, to extra-natural complexions. 

I returned from the drawing-room with a hundred new 
thoughts, excited by circumstances which had never occurred to 
me on any former occasion, and by the time I arrived at the 
Adelplii had grown from a courtier into a philosopher ! Even 
there, however, my lucubrations w^ere doomed to interruption. 
From my chamber at the Caledonian, the beauty of the animated 
Thames quite diverted my mind from the suffocating splendour 
under the pressure of which I had passed three hours. The broad 
unruffled tide, reflecting the rich azure of the firmament, awakened 
in my mind ideas of sublimity which would have raised it 
towards heaven, had not dinner and a new train of observation 
unfortunately recalled me to worldly considerations, which I 
fancied I had for one evening completely laid aside. Another 
scene of equal brilliance in its own way soon riveted my atten- 
tion. It was a Yauxhall evening, and thousands of painted and 
gilded skiffs darted along under my windows, crowded with flashy 
girls and tawdry cits, all enveloped in their holiday glories, and 
appearing to vie in gaudiness with the scullers of which they 
were the cargo. Here elegance and vulgarity, rank and mean- 
ness, vice and beauty, mingling and moving over the waters, led 
me to the moi-tifying reflection, that this apparently gay and 
happy company probably comprised a portion of the most miser- 
able and base materials of the British population. 

I soon became fatigued by the brilliant sameness of the 
scene ; and a sort of spurious philosophy again led me back to 
the Queen's drawing-room, and set me reflecting on numerous 
subjects in which I had not the remotest interest ; but as soli- 
tary reasoning is one of the very greatest incentives to drowsi- 
ness, that sensation soon overcame all others, the sensorial powers 
gradually yielded to its influence ; and ui a short time the 


baerington's personal sketches 

Queen and the Princess of Wales, the drawing-room and the 
gilded boats, the happy-looking girls and assiduous gallants, all 
huddled together in most irreverent confusion, sheered off (as a 
seaman would say) ; and left a sound and refreshing slumber in 
place of all that was great and gay, dazzling and splendid, in the 
first metropolis of the European hemisphere. 




Mr. William Fletchee, since chief-justice of the Common 
Pleas ; ]\Ir. James Egan,* afterwards judge of Kihuainham ; and 
Mr. Bartholomew Hoare, one of the King's Counsel, were cer- 
tainly the three most intractable men of their profession, though 
of characters very dissimilar. 

j\Ir. Fletcher, a clever man and excellent lawyer, had a surly 
temper, combined with a kind heart and an honest free-spirited 
principle, which never forsook him either in private life or as a 
public functionary. He was hard-featured, and although morose 
in court, disposed to jocularity in society. His appetites seemed 
to incline towards gourmand isc, and, in fact, toward voluptuous- 
ness, generally speaking. As a judge, he was upright, uninflu- 
enced, and humane. 

* Tliis should be Mr. John Egan, who thus distinguished himself in the memor- 
able debate of 1799. I quote from Sir Jonah's Hise and Fall of the Irish 
Nation : — 

"Mr. Egan, chairman of the County Dublin, a coarse, large, bluff, red-faced 
Irishman, was the last who entered. His exultation knew no bounds. As 
Xo. 110 was announced, he stopped a moment at the bar, flourished a great stick 
over his head, and cried out, ' I'm a hundred and eleven ! ' He then quietly sat 
down, and burst out into an immoderate fit of laughter — all heart- Never was 
there a finer picture of genuine patriotism. He was yery far from being rich, and 
had an offer to be made a Baron of the Exchequer with £3500 a-year if he would 
support the Union, which he indignantly refused to do. On any other subject 
he would have supported the government." 

I knew Bully" Egan's family well. They were left poor, and some indigent. 
He was off'ered a fat living for his brother, the Eev. Carbery Egan ; but this worthy 
poor curate suff'ered for his relative's honesty. His widow and children became 
inmates of the Widows' Asylum, once near Mercer's Hospital. On my representa- 
tion, supported as it was by Mr. Arthur Hume of the Treasury, the late George 
Putland, who has not left his like behind, would have permanently provided 
for them ; but the misconduct of the son, and the insanit}- of the daughters, 
baffled his benevolent purpose. 


barrington's personal sketches 

Mr. Egan, a huge, coarse-looking, red-faced, boisterous fellow, 
to as tender a heart as ever was enclosed in so rough an outside 
added a number of other good qualities which it would be too 
much to expect should exist without some alloy. His manners 
were naturally gross rather than refined ; and it was very curious 
to see him, in full dress, endeavour to affect good-breeding. He 
had immense business at the bar at the time Lord Yelverton 
presided in the Court of Exchequer ; and he executed that busi- 
ness zealously and successfully, with, however, as occasion 
served, a sprinkling of what we term balderdash. In fact, he 
both gave and received hits and cuts with infinite spirit, and in 
more ways than one ; for he had fought a good number of duels, 
and had the good fortune to escape with an unpierced skin. 
Natural death was his final enemy. 

Bartholomew Hoare was the inferior of both. He wrote 
well, but spoke most disagreeably ; — ^liis harangues being senten- 
tious and diffuse, though not destitute of point. He was ill- 
tempered, arrogant, and rude, with a harsh expression of counte- 
nance ; but withal what was termed " an able man." In point 
of intellect, indeed, he perhaps exceeded Egan ; but in heart I 
must rank him inferior. Egan was popular with the most 
talented men of his profession, Hoare could never attain popu- 
larity in any shape. 

These are merely fugitive sketches of three men of the Irish 
Bar who, I knew not why, were generally named together, but 
whose respective careers terminated very differently. Bartho- 
lomew Hoare died in great distress. 

The chief baron. Lord Yelvertou, got, one day after dinner, 
at his house at Fairview, into an argument with Egan, which 
in truth he always courted, to enhance the merriment of the 
company. Hoare never heard an argument in his life between 
any two persons, or upon any subject, wherein he did not long 
to obtrude ; and Fletcher, if he thought he had conceived a good 
hit, was never easy till he was delivered of it. On the evening 
in question, the trio had united in contesting with their host all 
manner of subjects, which he had himself designedly started, to 



excite them. He was in high glee, and played them off in a 
style of the most superior wit and cleverness, assisted by much 
classic quotation. By successive assaults he upset the three, who 
were as less than one in the hands of Yelverton, when he chose 
to exert himself. The evening certainly turned out among the 
pleasantest I ever passed in society. 

Lord Yelverton' s wit and humour had a sort of weight and 
solidity in it, which emitted a fervid as well as a blazing light. 
I opened not my lips ; had I mingled in their disputation, I 
should not only have got my fidl portion of the tattooing, as they 
termed it, but should also have lost, in becoming an actor, the 
gratification of witnessing the scene. At length Lord Yelverton 
^^Tote under the table with a pencil tlie following words, and 
sent the scrap by a servant to me : — " Barrington, these fellows 
will never stop ! Pray write something about them, and send 
it to me." I left the room, and having written the following 
parody in a hand to resemble printing, sent it in to his Lordship 
sealed as a letter : — 

Three pleaders, in one vulgar era born, 
Blount Melic, Cork, and Blarney did adorn ; 
In solemn surliness the first siu-pass'd, 
The next in balderdash — in both the last : 
The force of Nature could no further go ; 
To make a third, she joined the former two ! 

Lord Yelverton, not expecting the lampoon to come in form 
of a letter, was greatly diverted ; it was read over and over again, 
amidst roars of laughter. Everybody entertained his own con- 
jecture respecting the writer, and each barrister appropriated to 
himself one of the three characteristics. I was not at all sus- 
pected that night, since I had in nowise interfered, and my brief 
absence had not been noticed : but next day in court, it somehow 
came out. Xobody but Hoare was vexed, and liim I silenced by 
threatening that I would write another epigi'am on him solus if 
he provoked me. 

Egan, however, professed annoyance at me from some cause 
or other in the course of that day. He was never remarkable 


baerington's personal sketches 

for the correctness of his English. In speaking to some motion 
that was pending, he used the word obdurate frequently. I 
happened to laugh ; Egan turned round, and then addressing 
himself to the chief baron, " I suppose, my Lord," said he ironi- 
cally, " the gentleman laughs at my happening to pronounce the 
word obdurate wrong." 

" No, my Lord," replied I, " I only laughed because he hap- 
pened to pronounce it right!' 

I never heard him utter the word obdurate afterwards. 




^Ir. Norcot was an eccentric Irish barrister, the uncertainty of 
whose fate has given rise to a vast number of surmises : the last 
authentic account described him as a Turk selling rhubarb and 
opium in the streets of SmjTua ! AVhen the Duke of Eiclmiond 
was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland he was a great favourite at the 
Castle revels. He could drink as stoutly as the Duke himself, 
touch the piano as well as a lady, or gamble as deeply as any of 
the gentlemen : he could jest even better than Sir Charles Ver- 
non, and drove, in his entertainments, all other bachelors out of 
the field. Hence, his reception was so flattering, that he dis- 
carded all reflection, and at length found his purse empty, his 
resources dry, his profession unproductive, his estate melted 
down, and his reputation not improved. The noble Duke gave 
him no place but at liis dinner-table, while smiles and lemonade 
were the favours of the Duchess : the courtiers turned their faces 
towards him whilst he was rich, and their backs when he had 
grown poor : his best puns began to pass without notice, his 
mimicry excited no laughter, and liis most high-flown compli- 
ments scarcely received a curtsy. 

A fat, hearty, convivial fellow does not perceive what is termed 
the half-cut near so soon as your lank, sensitive, thorough-paced 
goer : and Xorcot was not completely undeceived as to his own 
declining influence until, one evening, having lost much more 
money than he could pay, he began to consider how to make up 
the deficiency. He had very little cash left anywhere, and was 
not versed in the borrowing system : so he thought he would 
wait a few days to see what Providence would be pleased to do 
for him ; and as he had never thought it worth his while to rely 
upon her before, he did not know exactly in what way to court 


barrington's personal sketches 

her assistance. Irish gentlemen so circumstanced are very apt 
to suppose that they may find Providence, or in other words good 
luck, at the bottom of two or three bottles of wine, and accord- 
ingly never omit the application thereunto. ISTorcot pursued the 
usual course, and certainly made away with that number at least 
next night with the Duke. But alas ! this kind of exorcism was 
unsuccessful in his instance, and he was necessitated to return 
home, at three o'clock in the morning, sobered by the very lassi- 
tude of excess, and maddened by reflection. On arriving, he 
threw himself into his arm-chair, his mind became confused, his 
reason wandered : he thought of resources — there were none ! — 
but the extent of his poverty and debts being as yet not publicly 
known, he thought of borrowing. The plan, however, seemed a 
doubtful one ; and, besides, he was deterred from trying it by his 
pride. He next thought of prison ; this inflamed his brain still 
farther, and drove him upon the fearful alternative of suicide ! 
Here a door of retreat seemed open, although whither it led he 
knew not : but he had neither heart to bear up against misfortune, 
nor religion to assuage it ; he had no steady friend to advise 
with, and no liberal one to relieve him. 

He sank for a moment into an enviable state of insensibility. 
His servant Thomas, a broad, faithful Irishman, but who never 
had known the meaning of any kind of feelings, except corporeal 
ones, stood by surprised at the change in his master's manner. 
"Thomas !" exclaimed the desponding ISTorcot, "Thomas, are my 
pistols charged?" 

" Eight well, plase your honour," replied Thomas. 

"The flints, Thomas?" 

" I'm sure they'd strike fire enough to burn a barrel of gun- 
powder, if your honour wanted to blow it up !" 
" Bring them hither !" said ISTorcot. 

Thomas did not approve of this order, and answered, " Sure 
your honour can't want them till daylight, anyhow !" But, upon 
ISTorcot' s authoritatively waving his hand, he brought the pistols, 
wondering what his master wanted with them. 



" Thomas," said the desperate man, " you were always faith- 
ful 1" 

"And vjhy shmtld not I?" said Thomas. 

" Well, then, Thomas, I can Kve no longer ! " 

" Thunder and oons, Master ! why not ?" 

" 'Tis enough to say, Thomas," pursued the hapless barrister, 
taking up one of the pistols, " that I am determined to die." 

Thomas never having seen such a catastrophe, was quite 
alarmed, but all his eloquence was in vain : liaving wept and 
argued to no purpose, he ran towards the window to shout mur- 
der, but it was fast. Korcot, who was an unbeliever, shuddering 
meanwlule less at the idea of the crime he contemplated than at 
that of eternal annihilation, which his tenets induced him to an- 
ticipate, said, " Thomas, take one of these pistols and put it to 
my head ; apply the other here, to my heart ; fire both together, 
and put me out of my pain — for die I will !" 

Thomas mused and bethought himseK, and then answered, 
" I am willing to do the best I can for so good a master, but 
tndy I can't shoot, and may be I'd miss your honour ! hadn't I 
better go to some gentleman of your acqaintance that I heard 
you say never missed anybody — and who would do it cleverly ?" 

" None but you," returned the unyielding desperado, " shall 
shoot me, Thomas !" 

" I never shot anybody!" cried the servant: "but," taking 
up the pistols, " your honour says, one at your head : may I 
crave what part of it?" 

"There," said Norcot, pointing to his temple; "the other 
through my heart !" 

"And which side is your honour's heart to-night?" inquired 
the dilatory valet. 

" Here !" replied Norcot : "now cock and fire !" 

Thomas, who had been planning all this time how to get rid 
of the business, now seemed on the sudden to recollect himself 
"But, master dear!" said he, "when you were going to fight a 
duel with that Captain O'Brien, at the Cove of Cork, your 
honour took out Surgeon Egan with you, saying that no gentle- 


barrington's personal sketches 

man should risk Ms life without a doctor : so, if you plase, I'll 
just step over first and foremost, and fetch Surgeon Macklin here 
for fear of accidents /" Without waiting any reply, he instantly 
stepped out of the room as fast as he could, taking the pistols 
with him, and leaving Norcot in astonishment : he actually went 
to the doctor, told him the story, and brought him over to reason 
with his master, who remained in a state of perfect distraction. 
However, the fit somewhat subsided ; and the incidents being 
thus placed in a novel and ridiculous point of view had the most 
extraordinary effect on Norcot's mind. He recovered the use of 
his reason, and calm reflection succeeded the burning frenzy. 
He could scarcely avoid smiling at Thomas ; and relating the 
adventure himself, pretended it was only a trick of his own to 
terrify his servant. But when he was left to himself he con- 
sidered what was best to be done, and adopted it. He made up 
all the means he could, and got into a place of secrecy, where he 
awaited the result of the " Chapter of Accidents," and the efforts 
of his great friends to procure him some employment for subsist- 
ence ; nor was he long unprovided for. He was appointed to 
an ofifi.ce, I think at Malta, but where he soon disgraced himself 
in a manner which for ever excluded him from society. Being 
now lost past all redemption, he fled to the Morea, and from 
thence to Constantinople, where he renounced the cross and 
became a Mussulman. But even there lie was not fortunate : 
he has for some time been lost sight of, and exhibits a most 
edifying lesson to the dissipated and unbelieving. After com- 
mencing the world with as plausible prospects of success and 
respectability as most men of his day, Norcot, if dead, has died 
a disgraced and blasphemous renegado ; thus confirming an 
observation of mine, throughout life, that a iiee-thinker is ever 
disposed to be also a hQQ-actor, and is restrained from the 
gratification of all his vices only by those laws which provide a 
punishment for their commission. 




Before and for some time after I was called to the bar, the 
bench was in some instances very curiously manned as to judges.* 
The uniform custom had previously been to send over these 
dignitaries from England ; — partly with a view to protect the 
property of absentees, and partly from political considerations : 
and the individuals thus sent appeared as if generally selected 
because they were good for nothing else. In truth, till the 
judges of Ireland were made independent of the crown in 1784, 
no Enghsh barrister who could earn his bread at home would 
accept a precarious office in a strange country, and on a paltry 
salary. Such Irishmen, also, as were in those days constituted 
puisne judges, were of the inferior class of practising barristers, 
on account of the last-mentioned circumstance. 

A ATilgar idea, most ridiculous in its nature, formerly pre- 
vailed in Ireland, of the infallibility of judges. It existed at an 
early period of my observations, and went so far even as to con- 
ceive t that an ignorant barrister, whose opinion nobody probably 
would ask, once placed on the judicial bench, immediately 
changed his character, appropriated the lore of all the books in 
his library, by virtue of his office. The great seal and the 
king's patent were heldt to saturate his brain in half-an-hour 

* This is a violent descent ; "manned as to judges ! " It is an obvious at- 
tempt at what is called a popular style ; but the people w ho are pleased with such 
attempts are also debased by them. The author was at one time fastidious as to 
phrase, and accordingly the tone of The Rise and Fall is dignified throughout. 
That book Moore greatly admired for its literary merits. There is indeed much 
mannerism in it. When I observed that the structm-e ran up like the rounds of 
a ladder, Moore replied — "Ay, but, like Jacob's, that ladder runs up to heaven !" 

t " An idea went to conceive " is neither Irish nor English, 
Technical, i.e. shop. 


barrington's personal sketches 

with all that wisdom and learning which he had in vain been 
trying to get even a peep at during the former portion of 
his life. 

Law had long been a system of precedents, without any 
question among the judges whether such precedents were right 
or wrong. 

To show the great improvement of the Irish bench, and the 
rapid advance in the administration of justice in the law courts, 
I will subjoin a few illustrative anecdotes. 

Baron Monckton, of the Exchequer, an importation from 
England, was said to understand Uack letter and red wine better 
than any who had preceded him in that situation. At all events, 
being often vino deditus, he on those occasions described the 
segment of a circle in making his way to the seat of justice ! 
This learned baron was longer on the bench than any other in 
my recollection. I have also in later days enjoyed the intimacy 
of a very clever well-informed man, and a sound lawyer, who 
(like the baron) rather indecorously indulged in the juice of the 
grape, and whom Lord Clare had made a judge for some services 
rendered to himself The newspapers eulogised this gentleman 
very much for his singular tender-heartedness, saying — So great 
was the humanity of Judge Boyd, that when he was passing 
sentence of death upon any unfortunate criminal, it was ob- 
servable that his Lordship seldom failed to have "a drop in 
his eye."* 

I remember a barrister being raised to the Irish bench, who 
had been previously well known by the ingenious surname of 

* Baron Green observed upon this — ''Why, Crampton can't sentence a man 
to be hanged without *a drop in his eye.' Crampton was an earnest teetotaller. 
When Dr. Whately heard of Cj'ampton's conversion to Mathewism, he said — 
" Well, water is a good thing to wash down law, but a very bad thing to wash it 

This puts me in mind of a really droll thing of the archbishop ; a lady having 
asked the meaning of ariston men to hudor, he replied — " Water is the best thing for 
fish, sea-fights, and steam-engines !" The lady stared, asking, "Does it mean all 
that, your grace ?" " Oh ! " he cried with the complacency of a cherub, " there's 
no getting meaning out of Greek without a paraphrase. You understand, ma'am." 



Counsellor Necessity, — because " necessitas non legem habet ; " 
and certainly, to do him no more than justice, he consistently 
merited the cognomen after his elevation as well as before. 

Old Judge Henn, a very excellent private character, was 
dreadfully puzzled on circuit, about 1789, by two pertinacious 
young barristers, who flatly contradicted one another as to the 
" law^ of the case." At last they unanimously requested his 
Lordship to decide the point. 

" How, gentlemen," said Judge Henn, " can I settle it be- 
tween you ? — You, sir, positively say the law is one way, and 
you, turning to the opposite party, as unequivocally aftirm that 
it is the other way. I wish to God, Billy Harris (to his registrar 
who sat imderneath), I knew what the law really was !" 

" My Lord," replied Billy Harris most sententiously, " if I 
possessed that knowledge, I would tell your Lordship with a 
great deal of pleasure ! " 

" Then w^e'll save tlie 'point, Billy Harris," exclaimed the 

A more modern justice of the Irish King's Bench, in giving 
his dictnim on a certain will case, absolutely said, " he thought it 
very clear that the testator intended to keep a life interest in the 
estate to himself!' The bar did not laugh outright ; but Curran 
soon rendered that consequence inevitable. "Very true, my 
Lord," said he, " very true ! testators generally do secure life 
interests to themselves. But, in this case, I rather think your 
Lordship takes the will for the deedy * 

The chief-justices were, however, generally accomplished 
men, and of first-rate talent as lawyers ; and the chancellors, 
with few exceptions, both able and dignified — qualities which 
Lord Lifford was the last to unite in an eminent degree. 

On the subject of judges, I cannot omit a few anecdotes of a 
very different description from the foregoing, which occurred in 
my own time. 

Baron Power was considered an excellent lawyer, and was 
altogether one of the most curious characters I have met in 

* Durissimum ! 
VOL. I. S 


barrington's personal sketches 

the profession. He was a morose, fat fellow, affecting to be 
genteel : lie was very learned, very ricli, and very ostentations. 
Unfortunately for liimseK, Baron Power held the office of usher 
of the Court of Chancery, which was principally remunerated by 
fees on monies lodged in that court. Lord Clare, then chancel- 
lor, hated and teased him, because Power was arrogant himself, 
and never would succumb to the arrogance of Fitzgibbon. The 
chancellor had a certain control over the usher ; at least he had 
a sort of license for abusing him by innuendo, as an of&cer of the 
court, and most unremittingly did he exercise that license. 
Baron Power had a large private fortune, and always acted in 
of&ce strictly according to the custom of his predecessors ; but 
was attacked so virulently and pertinaciously by Lord Clare, 
that having no redress, it made a deep impression, first on his 
pride, then on his mind, and at length on his intellect. Lord 
Clare followed up his blow, as was common with him : he made 
incessant attacks on the baron, who chose rather to break than 
bend, and who, unable longer to stand this persecution, deter- 
mined on a prank of all others the most agreeable to his adver- 
sary ! The baron walked quietly down early one fine morning 
to the south wall, which runs into the sea about two miles from 
Dublin ; there he very deliberately filled his coat-pockets with 
pebbles, and walked into the ocean, which, however, did not 
retain him long, for his body was thrown ashore with great con- 
tempt by the tide.* 

Had the matter ended here it might not have been so very 
remarkable ; but the precedent was too respectable and inviting 
not to be followed by persons who had any particular reasons 
for desiring strangulation, as a judge drowning himself gave the 
thing a sort of dignified legal Mat ! It so happened that a Mr. 
Morgal, then an attorney residing in DubKn, of large dimensions, 
and with shin-bones curved like the segment of a rainbow, had, 
for good and sufficient reasons, long appeared rather dissatisfied 
with himself and other people. But as attorneys were considered 
much more likely to induce their neighbours to cut their throats 

* The sequel discloses that the judge committed suicide. 

OF nis ovrs times. 


than to execute that office upon themselves, nobody ever sus- 
pected Morgal of any intention to shorten his days in a vohm- 
tar>^ manner. 

However, it appeared that the signal success of Baron Power 
had excited in the attorney a great ambition to get rid of his 
sensibilities by a similar exploit. In compliance with such his 
impression, he adopted the very same preliminaries as the baron 
had done, walked off by the very same road to the very same 
spot, and, ha\ing had the advantage of knowing, from the coro- 
ner's inquest, that the baron had put pebbles into his pocket 
with good effect, adopted Kkewise this judicial precedent, and 
committed himself in due fonn, and with equal success, into the 
hands of Father Neptune. 

As a sequel to this little anecdote of Crosby Morgal, it is 
worth observing that, though I do not recollect any of the 
attornajs immediately following his example, four or five of his 
clients very shortly after started from this world of their own 
accord, to try, as people then said, if tliey could any way over- 
take Crosby, who had left them no conveniences for staying long 
behind him.* 

Mr. William Johnson, the present judge,'f' was the only one 
of my brother barristers whose smiles were not agreeable to me 
when we went circuits together. I liked his frowns extremely, 
because they were generally very sincere, extremely picturesque, 

* Some years ago, a suitor in the Court of Exchequer comi)lained in person to 
the Chief Baron, that he was quite ruinated^ and could go on no further ! 
" Then," said Lord Yelvertou, " you had better leave the matter to be decided by 
reference." — " To be sure I will, my Lord," said the plaintiff : '* I've been now at 
law thirteen years, and can't get on at all ! I'm willing, please your Lordship, to 
leave it aU either to one honest man or two attorneys, whichever your Lordship 
pleases. " '* You had better toss up for that," said Lord Yelverton, laughing. Two 
attorneys were, however, appointed, and, in less than a year, reported that "they 
could not agree :" both parties then declared they would leave the matter to a 
very honest farmer — a neighbour of theirs. They did so, and, in about a iveek, 
came hand-in -hand to the court, thanked his Lordship, and told him their neigh- 
bour had settled the whole affair square and straight to their entire satisfaction. 
Lord Yelverton used to tell the anecdote with great ^qq.— {Author's note.) 

t Long dead. 


baekington's personal sketches 

and never niggardly bestowed. But Ms paroxysms of good hu- 
mour were occasionally so awkward, I frequently begged of him to 
cheer up our society by getting into a little passion ; and some- 
times took the liberty of putting him into one myself, to make 
him more agreeable. 

Be it remembered, however, that this was before Mr. William 
Johnson became a judge ; and I cannot say what effect an inocu- 
lation by Lord Norbury's temperament may have had upon his 
constitution. But I frequently told him that either physic or 
wrangling was indispensably necessary, to keep his bile from 

Though divers anecdotes occur to me of my said friend, Judge 
William Johnson, I do not conceive that many of them can be 
very interesting out of court, particularly after he becomes de- 
funct, which nature has certainly set down as a " motion of 
course." One or two, however, which connect themselves with 
my egotistical feelings, shall not be omitted. At the same time- 
I assure him, that I by no means approve of our late brother 
Daly's method of reasoning, who, on his speaking rather inde- 
corously of Mr. William Johnson, in his absence, at the Bar-mess 
on circuit, was tartly and very properly asked by the present 
Mr. Justice Jebb, " Why he would say such things of Mr. 
Johnson behind his back?" "Because," replied Mr. Daly, "I 
would not hurt Ms feelings by saying them to his face!' 

I often reflect on a most singular circumstance which occurred 
between Johnson and me, as proving the incalculability of what 
is called in the world " fortune," which, in my mind, cannot have 
a better definition than " The state lottery of nature." My friend 
is the son of a respectable apothecary, in Fishamble Street, Dublin, 
and was called to the bar some few years before me ; but the 
world being blind as to our respective merits, I got immediately 
into considerable business, and he, though a much wiser man and 
a much cleverer lawyer, got none at all. Prosperity, in short, 
deluged me as it were ; when suddenly I fell ill of a violent 
fever on circuit, which nearly ended my career. Under these 
circumstances, Johnson acted by me in a most kind and friendly 



inauuer, and insisted on remaining with me, to the neglect of his 
own concerns. This I would not allow ; but I never forgot the 
proffered kindness, and determined, if ever it came witliin my 
power, to repay his civility. 

The next year I was restored to health, and my career of good 
fortune started afresh, wliilst poor J olinson had still no better 
luck. He remained assiduous, friendly, and good-natured to me ; 
but at the same time he drooped, and told me at Wexford, in a 
state of despondency, that he was determined to quit the bar and 
go into orders. I endeavoured to dissuade him from this, because 
I had a presentiment that he would eventually succeed ; and I 
fairly owned to liim that I doubted much if he were mild 
enough for a parson. 

In about two years after I was appointed King's Counsel, 
^ly stuff gown had been, so far, the most fortunate one of our 
profession, and Johnson's the least so. I advised him to get a 
new gown ; and shortly after, in the whim of the moment, fancy- 
ing there might be some seeds of good luck sticking to the folds 
of my old stuff after I had quitted it for a silken robe, I dis- 
patched a humorous note to Johnson, together with the stuff 
gowTi, as a mark of my gratitude for his attentions, begging he 
would accept it from a friend and well-wisher, and try if wearing 
it would be of equal service to him as to me. 

He received my jocose gift very pleasantly, and in good part ; 
and, laughing at my conceit, put on the gown. But, whatever 
may become of prepossessions, certain it is that from that period 
Johnson prospered ; his business gTadually grew larger ; and, in 
proportion as it increased, he became, what they call in Ireland, 
liigh enough to everybody but the attorneys ; and thus my friend 
William Johnson trudged on through thick and thin to the 
Parliament House, into which Lord Castlereagh stuffed him, as 
he said himself, " to put an end to it." However, he kept a clear 
look-out, and now sits in the place his elder brother Judge Eobert 
had occupied, who was rather singularly 'Z^?ijudged for having 
Cohhettisecl Lord Eedesdale, as will hereafter appear. 

Old Mr. Johnson, the father of these two gentlemen, when 


bakrington's personal sketches 

upwards of sixty, procured a diploma as physician — to make the 
family genteeler. He was a decent, orderly, good kind of apothe- 
cary, and a very respectable, though somewhat ostentatious 
doctor ; and, above all, a good, orthodox, hard-praying Protest- 
ant. I was much amused one day after dinner at Mr. Hobson's, 
at Bushy, near Dublin, where the doctor, Curran, myself, and 
many others were in company. The doctor delighted in telling 
of the successes of his sons, Bob, Bill, Gam, and Tom the attorney, 
as he termed them : he was fond of attributing Bob's advance- 
ment rather to the goodness of Providence than that of the 
Marquess of Downshire ; and observed, most parentally, that he 
had brought up his boys, from their very childhood, with " the 
fear of God always before their eyes." Ah ! 'twas a fortunate 
circumstance indeed, doctor," said Curran, ''very fortunate in- 
deed — ^that you frightened them so early." 

One of the most honourable and humane judges I ever saw 
upon the Irish Bench was the late Justice Kelly of the Common 
Pleas. He was no common man. Numerous anecdotes have 
been told of him : many singular ones I myself witnessed ; * but 
none which did not do credit to some just or gentlemanly feeling. 
He had practised several years in the West Indies ; and studying 
at the Temple on his return, was in due season admitted to the 
Irish bar, to the head of which he rose with universal approbation. 

At the time the Irish insisted on a declaration of their inde- 
pendence, Judge Kelly had attained the high dignity of Prime 
Serjeant, a law-office not known in England : in Ireland the 
Prime Serjeant had rank and precedence of the attorney and 
solicitor-general. On the government of Ireland first opposing 
that declaration of independence, Kelly, from his place in Parlia- 
ment, declared " he should consider it rather a disgrace than an 
honour to wear the Prime Serjeant's gown under a ministry 
which resisted the rights of his country!" and immediately sent 
in his resignation, and retired to the rank of a private barrister. 

Among such a people, and in consequence of such conduct, 

* An eye-witness of an anecdote is a rare fellow. Tliose simple memorials of 
Kelly are very consoling after the Johnsonian disappointment. 



it is useless to attempt describing his popularity. His business 
rose to an extent beyond his powers, ^^"obody was satisfied who 
had not Tom Kelly for his advocate in the courts ; no suitor was 
content who had not Tom Kelly's opinion as to title ; all pur- 
chasers of property must have Tom Kelly's sanction for their 
speculations. This emdable old man lived splendidly, yet saved a 
large fortune. At length it was found so unpopular to leave him 
at the bar, that he was first appointed Solicitor-General and then 
mounted on the bench of the Common Pleas, where, having sat 
many years, he retired to liis beautiful country residence near 
Stradbally, Queen's County, and lived, as a country gentleman, 
in hosjDitable magnificence. 

After Judge Kelly had assumed the bench, the public began 
to find out that his legal knowledge had been overrated. His 
opinions were overruled and his deductions esteemed illogical ; 
in short, he lost altogether the character of an infallible lawyer, 
but had the happiness of thinking he had confirmed his reputa- 
tion for honour, justice, and integrity. He used to say, laugh- 
ingly, " So they find out now that I am not a very stanch 
lawyer. I am heartily glad they did not find it out thirty years 

He loved the world, and this was only gi\^titude, for the 
world loved him ; and nobody ever yet enjoyed his existence 
with more cheerfulness and composure. " Egad ! " he used to 
say, " this world is wheeling round and round quite too fast to 
please me. For my part, I'd rather be a young shoe-boy than an 
old judge." (AVho would not? says the author.) He always 
most candidly admitted his legal mistakes. I recollect my friend 
William Johnson once pressing him very fiercely to a decision in 
his favour, and stating as an argument (in his usual peremptory 
tone to judges he was not afraid of), that there could be no 
doubt on the point, — precedent was imperative in the matter — 
as his Lordship had decided the same points the same way twice 

" So, ^Ir. Johnson," said the judge — looking archly, shifting 
his seat somewhat, and shrugging up his right shoulder ; so, 


bariungton's personal sketches 

because I decided wrong twice, Mr, Johnson, you'd have me do 
so a third time ? No, no, Mr. Johnson, you must excuse me. 
I'll decide the other way this bout ! " And so he did. 

The anecdotes of his quaint humour are in fact innumerable, 
and some of his charges quite extraordinary. His profile was 
very like Edmund Burke's. He had that sharp kind of nose 
which gives a singular cast to the general contour ; but there was 
always an appearance of drollery lurking in his countenance. 
No man could more justly boast of carrying about him proofs of 
nationality, as few ever had the Irish dialect stronger. It was 
in every word and every motion ! Curran used to say he had 
the hrogue in his shoulders. If Judge Kelly conceived he had 
no grounds to be ashamed of his country, she had still less to be 
ashamed of him. He was calculated to do credit to any land.''^ 

I also had the pleasure of being acquainted with Mr. Arthur 
Wolfe t intimately, afterwards Baron Kilwarden and Chief- Justice 
of Ireland. This gentleman had, previously to his advancement, 
acquired very high eminence as an equity lawyer. He was 
much my senior at the bar. 

Wolfe had no natural genius, and but scanty general informa- 
tion. His talents were originally too feeble to raise him by their 
unassisted efforts into any political importance. Though patron- 
ised by the Earl of Tyrone, and supported by the Beresford 
aristocracy, his rise was slow and gradual, and his promotion to 
the office of Solicitor-General had been long predicted, not from 
his ability, but in consequence of his reputation as a good-hearted 
man and a sound lawyer. 

On the elevation of Mr. John Fitzgibbon to the seals, Mr. 
Wolfe succeeded him as Attorney-General, the parliamentary 
duties of which office were, however, far beyond the reach of his 
oratory, and altogether too important for his proportion of intel- 
lect ; and hence he had to encounter difficulties which he was 

* This unaffected tribute to unaffected goodness is beyond all praise. 

t Of a very respectable family, whose property is in the County Kildare, 
near Sailing. They were related to Theobald "Wolfe Tone. The author of 
" The Burial of Sir John Moore" was a nephew of the judge. Captain Theobald 
Wolfe is the present representative. 

OF Ills OWX TIMES. 265 

unable successfully to surmount. The most gifted members of 
his own profession were, in fact, then linked with the first-rate 
political talents of the Irish nation, to bear down those measures 
which it had become ^Ir. AVolfe's imperative official duty to 
originate or support. 

In the singular character of ^Ir. WoKe there were strange 
diversities of manner and of disposition. On first acquaintance, 
he seldom failed to make an unfavourable impression ; but his 
arrogance was only apparent, his pride innoxious, liis haughtiness 
theoretical In society, he so whimsically mixed and mingled 
solemn ostentation with pla}^ul frivolity, that the man and the 
boy, the judge and the jester, were generally alternate. 

Still, Kilwarden's heart was right and his judgment sufficing. 
In feeling he was quick, in apprehension slow. The union of 
these qualities engendered a sort of spurious sensibility, which 
constantly led him to apprehend offence where none was ever 
intended. He had a constant dread of being thought petulant, 
and the excitement produced by this dread became itself the 
author of that techy irritation which he so much deprecated.* 

Lord Kilwarden, not percei\dng the true distinction between 
pride and dignity, thought he was supporting the appearance of 
the one, when in fact he was only practising the formality of the 
other ; and, after a long intercourse with the world, he every day 
evinced that he knew any one's else character better than liis 
own. As Attorney-General during a most trj^ng era, his moder- 
ation, justice, and discretion, were not less e\ddent than was his 
strict adherence to official duties. 

In the celebrated cause of the King against Hea^y, in the 
King's Bench, Mr. Curran and I were Hea\y's counsel, and 
afterwards moved to set aside the verdict on grounds which we 
considered to form a most important point, upon legal prin- 

Curran had concluded his speech, and I was stating what I 
considered to be the law of the case, when Lord Kilwarden, 

* This word, so incorrectly used here, is, I think, always employed correctly 
in Tlie Rise and Fall. 


baerington's personal sketches 

impatient and fidgetty, interrupted me : " God forbid, Mr. Bar- 
rington," said he, " that should be the law !" 

" God forbid, my Lord," answered I, " that it should not be 
the law." 

" You are rough, sir," exclaimed he, 

" More than one of us have the same infirmity, my Lord." 

" I was right, sir," said he. 

" So was I, my Lord," returned I, unbendingly. 

He fidgetted again and looked haughty and sour. I thought 
he would break out, but he only said, " Go on, sir — go on, sir !" 
I proceeded : and, whilst I was speaking, he wrote a note, 
which was handed me by the ofl&cer : I kept it, as affording a 
curious trait of human character. It ran thus : — 

Barrington — You are the most impudent fellow I ever met. 
Come and dine with me this day at six. You will meet some 
strangers, so I hope you wiU behave yourself, though I have no 
reason to expect it 1 K." 

To conclude this sketch : Lord Kilwarden was, in grain, one 
of the best men I ever knew ; but, to be liked, it was necessary 
he should be known. He had not an error, to counterbalance 
which some merit did not exhibit itself He had no wit, though 
he thought he said good things : as a specimen of his punning, 
he used to call Curran " Gooseberry T * 

The instability of human affairs was lamentably exemplified 
in his Lordship's catastrophe : — his life was prosperous, and 
deservedly so ; his death cruel and unmerited. There scarcely 
exists in record a murder more inhuman or more wanton than 
that of the chief justice.t 

* He could say better. He asked a brother barrister wby he led him such a 
way, and received for answer, "For a short cut ; circuitus evitandusy " A very 
unsuitable motto for a lawyer," cried Wolfe. A parson, who was entering on some 
vindictive proceedings against one of his own parishioners, having met Wolfe in 
the hall of the courts intently looking into a brief, inquired jocularly, *' What is 
written in the law ? How readest thou ?" " Thou shalt love thy neighbour as 
thyself," was the prompt and solemn reply. The proceedings were stopped. 

+ It was not, however, preconcerted, as will be seen. 



In 1803, on the evening wlien the partial but sanguinary 
insurrection broke out in Dublin, organised by Mr. Emmet, 
Kilwarden had retired to his country-house near the metropolis, 
and was tranquilly enjoying the society of his family, when he 
received an order from government to repair to town on particu- 
lar business : in fact, the police, the secretaries, and all attached 
to executive, had continued incredulous and supine, and never 
believed the probability of a rising until it was at the very point 
of commencing.* 

Kilwarden immediately ordered his carriage, and, attended 
only by his nephew, a clerg}Tnan, and one of his daughters, pro- 
ceeded to Dublin without the least suspicion of violence or in- 
ten-uption. His road, however, lay through a wide and long 
street, wherein the rebels had first assembled ; and, previously 
to Kilwarden's arrival, had commenced operations. Before his 
Lordsliip could conceive or had time to ask the cause of this 
assemblage, he was in the midst of their ranks ; hemmed in on 
every side by masses of armed ruffians, there was no possibility 
of retreat ; and without being conscious of a crime, he heard the 
yells of murder and revenge on every side around him, and per- 
ceived that he was lost beyond the power of redemption. 

A general shout ran amongst the insurgents of " The Chief- 
Justice ! Tlic Chief-Justice I" Their crime would have been the 

* This is not strictly tnie. ^Ir. Walter Locke, a respectable paper-stainer, an 
honest man, but a savage bigot, although he had a superstitious esteem for popish 
women, from whom he selected two admirable wives, was cautioned on the morn- 
ing of the Saturday of the outbreak against going to Thomas Street that evening 
by one of his workmen, who was finishing a house for him there, and left off work 
in order to prepare for action. Mr. Locke had an immediate communication with 
the proper functionarj- in the Castle, and succeeded in keeping his man back from 
the riot. Locke had his only son piked to death in 1798 ; and was the last sur- 
vivor of Emmet's jurors. He was a remarkable example of the pernicious influence 
of party or religious hate. He was not only honest but moral, and was one of the 
few whose sense of honour shrinks from a convenient lie. He was frank ; a little 
stern ; very firm to his friends, among whom were several Catholics. Yet that 
man more than once assured me that if any papist were tried before him on a 
charge of high treason, he would find him guilty on the indictment merely, except 
he knew him. Mr. Locke's information was the cause of the order. 



same in either case, but it was alleged that they were mistaken 
as to the person, conceiving it to be Lord Carleton, who, as justice 
of the Common Pleas, had some years before rendered himself 
beyond description obnoxious to the disaffected of Dublin, in 
consequence of having been the judge who tried and condemned 
the two Counsellors Sheares, who were executed for treason, and 
to whom that nobleman had been testamentary guardian, by the 
will of their father. The mob thought only of him ; and Lord 
Kilwarden fell a victim to their revenge against Lord Carleton. 

The moment the cry went forth, the carriage was stopped, 
and the door torn open. The clergyman and Miss Wolfe got out 
and ran : the latter was suffered to escape ; but the pikemen 
pursued, and having come up with Mr. Wolfe, mangled and 
murdered, in a horrid manner, as fine and inoffensive a young 
gentleman as I ever knew. 

Hundreds of the murderers now surrounded the carriage, 
ambitious only who should first spill the blood of a chief-justice ; 
a multitude of pikemen at once assailed him, but his wounds 
proved that he had made many efforts to evade them. His hands 
were lacerated all over, in the act of resistance ; but, after a long 
interval of torture, near thirty stabs in various parts of his body 
incapacitated him from struggling further with his destiny. They 
dragged him into the street ; yet, when conveyed into a house, 
he was still sensible, and able to speak a few words, but soon 
after expired. 

Certain events which arose out of that cruel murder are sin- 
gular enough. Mr. Emmet, a young gentleman of great abilities 
but of nearly frantic enthusiasm, who had been the organ and 
leader of that partial insurrection, was son to the state physician 
of Ireland, Doctor Emmet. Some time after the unfortunate 
event, he was discovered, arrested, tried, and executed. On his 
trial, Mr. Plunket was employed to act for the crown, with which 
he had not before been connected, but was soon after appointed 
Solicitor-General. The circumstances of that trial were printed 
and are no novelty ; but the result of it was a paper which ap- 
peared in Cobbett against Lord Eedesdale, and which was con- 



sidered a libeL* It was traced to Judge Eobert Johnson, of the 
Common Pleas, who was in consequence pursued by the then 
Attorney-General, Mr. O'Grady, as was generally thought by the 
bar, and as I still think, in a manner contrary to all established 
principles both of law and justice. The three law-coiu^ts had the 
case argued before them ; the judges differed on every point : 
however, the result was that Judge Johnson, being kidnapped, 
was taken over to England, and tried before the King's Bench at 
"Westminster, for a libel undoubtedly written in Ireland, although 
published by Cobbett in both countries. He was found guilty ; 
but, on the terms of his resigning office, judgment was never 
called for. As, however. Judge Johnson was one of those mem- 
bers of parliament who had voted for a union, the government 
could not abandon him altogether. They gave him twelve hun- 
dred pounds a-year for life ; and Eobert has lived many years 
not a bit the worse for Westminster ; whilst his next brother, to 
whom I have already paid my respects, was made Judge of the 
Common Pleas. This is the Mr. Robert Johnson who, from his 
having been inducted into two offices, Curran used to style, on 
alluding to him in the House of Commons, " the learned barrack- 
master." He was a well-read entertaining man, extremely acute, 
an excellent ^mter, and a trustworthy, agreeable companion. 
But there was something tart in his look and address, and he was 
neither good-natured in his manner nor gentlemanly in his ap- 
pearance, wliich circumstances, altogether, combined with his 
public habits to render him extremely unpopular. He did not 
affect to be a great pleader, but he would have made a first-rate 
attorney : he was very superior to his brother AVilliam in every- 
thing except law and arrogance, in wliich accomplishments 
William, when a barrister, certainly was entitled to a pre-eminence 
which none of his contemporaries refused to concede him. 

* It will be found in Cobbett 's Annual Register for 1803. It is so carefully- 
worded as to bear evidence of the writer's knowledge of the law. It is not very 
biting nor very eloquent ; and how any twelve men could be brought to consider 
it a libel can be accounted for only by the temper of the times, which tainted 
judges and juries. Verily, our intelligence has humanised us a bit. 




It may be objected tbat anecdotes of duelling have more than 
their due proportion of space in these sketches, and that no 
writer should publish feats of that nature (if feats they can be 
called), especially when performed by persons holding grave 
offices, or by public functionaries. The time, however, has 
happily passed over when such details might have proved very 
reprehensible incentives to bad principles and bad passions. 
There is no other species of detail or anecdote which so clearly 
brings in illustration before a reader's eye the character, genius, 
and manners of a country, as that which exemplifies the dis- 
tinguishing propensities of its population for successive ages. 
Much knowledge will necessarily be gained by possessing such 
a series of anecdotes, and by then going on to trace the decline 
of such propensities to the progress of civilisation in that class 
of society where they had been prevalent. The number of grave 
personages who appear to have adopted the national taste, 
though in most instances it was undoubtedly before their ele- 
vation to the bench that they signalised themselves in single 
combat, removes from me all imputation of pitching upon and 
exposing any unusual frailty ; and I think I may challenge any 
country in Europe to show such an assemblage of gallant judicial 
and official antagonists at fire and sword as is exhibited even in 
the following list.'''" 

* Single combat was formerly a very prevalent and favourite mode of adminis- 
tering justice in Ireland, was authorised by law, and frequently conducted before 
the high authorities and their ladies. The last exhibition of that nature which I 
have read of was between two Irish gentlemen — ^Connor Mac Cormac O'Connor 
and Teige Mac Kilpatrick O'Connor. They fought with broadswords and skeens 
(large knives), in the Castle of Dublin, in the presence of the archbishop and all 
the chief authorities and ladies of rank. They had hewed each other for a full 



The lord chancellor of Ireland, Earl Clare, fought the master 
of the Rolls, Curran. 

The chief-justice K.B., Lord Clomnell, fought Lord Tyraw- 
ley (a pri\y counsellor), Lord Llandaff, and two others. 

The judge of the county of Dublin, Egan, fought the master 
of the Eolls, Eoger BaiTett, and three others. 

The chancellor of the exchequer, the right honourable Isaac 
Corry, fought the right honourable Henry Grattan, a pri\y 
counsellor, and another. 

Medge, baron of the exchequer, fought his brother-in-law, 
and two others. 

The cliief-justice C. P., Lord Norbury, fought Fire-eater 
Fitzgerald, and two other gentlemen, and frightened Napper 
Tandy, and several besides ; only one hit. 

The judge of the prerogative court, Doctor Duigenan, fought 
one barrister and frightened another on the ground. 

The chief counsel to the revenue, Henry Deane Grady, fought 
counsellor O'Mahon, counsellor Campbell, and others : all hits. 

The master of the Eolls fought Lord Buckinghamshire, the 
chief secretary, etc. 

The provost of the university of Dublin, the right honourable 
Hely Hutcliinson, fought Mr. Doyle, master in chancery (they 
went to the plains of ^Minden to fight), and some others. 

The chief-justice C. P., Patterson, fought three country gen- 
tlemen, one of them with swords, another with guns, and 
wounded all of them. 

The right honourable George Ogle, a privy councillor, fought 
Barney Coyle, a distiller, because he was a papist. They fired 
eight shots and no hit ; but the second of one party broke his 
own arm. 

hour, when Mr. Mac Kilpatrick O'Connor, happening to miss his footing, Mr. 
Mac Cormac O'Connor began to cut his head off very expertly with his knife, 
which, after a good deal of cutting, struggling, and hacking, he was at length so 
fortunate as to eflFect ; and, having got the head clear off the shoulders, he handed 
it to the lords-justices (who were present), and by whom the head and neck was 
most graciously received. — {AutJwr's note.) 


barrington's personal sketches 

Thomas Wallace, K. C, fought Mr. O'Gorman, the Catholic 

Counsellor O'Connell fought the champion of the Corpo- 
ration, Captain d'Esterre : fatal to the champion of Protestant 

The collector of the customs of Dublin, the honourable 
Francis Hutchinson, fought the right honourable Lord Mount- 

The reader of this abridged list f will surely see no great in- 
decorum in an admiralty judge having now and then exchanged 
broadsides, more especially as they did not militate against the 
law of nations. 

However, it must be owned that there were occasionally very 
peaceable and forgiving instances amongst the barristers. I saw 
a very brave king's counsel, Mr. Curran, horse-whipped most 
severely in the public street, by a very savage nobleman. Lord 
Clanmorris ; and another barrister was said to have had his eye 
saluted by a moist messenger from Mr. May's lips, in the body 
of the House of Commons.;]; Yet, both those incivilities were 
arranged amicably, without the aid of any deadly weapon what- 
soever. But the people of Dublin used to observe, that a judg- 
ment came upon Counsellor O'Callaghan for having kept Mr. 
Curran quiet in the horse-whipping affair, inasmtich as his own 
brains were literally scattered about the ground by an attorney 
very soon after he had turned pacificator.^ 

It is incredible what a singular passion the Irish gentlemen, 
though in general excellelit-tempered fellows, formerly had for 

* Mr, O'Confiell jWade na offer of a pension to the captain's widow. He was 
in no condition to do so at the time ; and, had he dofie so, he could easily have 
foreseen how insolently the offer would have been rejected as an ostentatious 
pretence. I am fully informed on this matter. 

+ Two hundred and twenty-seven memorable and official duels have actually 
been fought during my grand climacteric. — {Author's note.) 

% Cuique sua voluptas. Better to have written, ' ' Mr. May spat in a barrister's 
face," etc. 

§ Such is the elan of Sir Jonah's genius, occasionally. 



lighting eacli otlier and immediately making friends again. A 
duel was considered a necessary piece of a young man's edu- 
cation, but by no means a ground for future animosity with his 

One of the most humane men existing, an intimate friend of 
mine, and at present a prominent public character, but who had 
frequently played both " hilt to hilt " and " muzzle to muzzle," 
was heard endeavouring to keep a little son of his quiet : — 
" Come, be a good boy ! Come," said my friend, " don't cry, and 
I'll give you a case of nice little pistols to-morrow. Don't cry, 
and we'll sJwot them all in the morning." I have heard the late 
Sir Charles Ormsby strengthen the credibility of this story by 
an equally illustrative one about a butcher in Nenagli who effec- 
tually stopped his son's tears by saying, — " Come, now, be a good 
boy! don't cry, and you shall kill a lamb to-morrow!" — "Oh 
yes, yes," said the child sobbing ; Father, is the lamb ready?" 

Within my recollection, this national propensity for fighting 
and slaughtering was nearly universal, originating in the spirit 
and habits of former times. When men had a glowing ambition 
to excel in all manner of feats and exercises, they naturally con- 
ceived that manslaughter in an Iwnest way (that is, not knowing 
luhich would be slaughtered) was the most chivalrous and gentle- 
manly of all their accomplishments ; and this idea gave rise to an 
assiduous cultivation of the arts of combat, and dictated the wisest 
laws for carrying them into execution with regularity and honour. 

About the year 1777 the Fire-eaters were in gi-eat repute in 
Ireland. No young fellow could finish his education till he had 
exchanged shots with some of his acquaintances. The first two 
questions always asked as to a young man's respectability and 
qualifications, particularly when he proposed for a lady, were, — 
" mat famHy is he of?"—" Did he ever blaze ?"* 

* I have often heard "the blazing" inquired after one way or another. In 
the southern Arcadia, Cork, the success of Orlando depended on the answers that 
were given to — "Can he keep a table ? Is he a good judge of wine ?" 

Mr. Henry White, who is still remembered in Cork as a wit and a wag, was 
once slily interrogated by the bloomer most concerned, and whose purpose he had 
reason to suspect — "Is he a fire-eater, Mr. White?" "A fire-eater, Glaucopis ? 
VOL. I. T 


barrington's personal sketches 

Tipperary and Galway were the ablest scliools of the duelling 
science. Galway was most scientific at the sword ; Tipperary 
most practical and prized at the pistol : Mayo not amiss at 
either ; Eoscommon and Sligo had many professors and a high 
reputation in the leaden branch of the pastime. 

When I was at the university, Jemmy Keogh, Buck English, 
Cosey Harrison, Crowe Eyan, Eeddy Long, Amby Bodkin, 
Squire Falton, Squire Blake, Amby Fitzgerald, and a few others, 
were supposed to understand the points of honour better than 
any men in Ireland, and were constantly referred to. 

In the North, the Fallows and the Fentons were the first 
hands at it, and most counties could have then boasted their 
regular point-of-lionour men. The present chief-justice of the 
Common Pleas was supposed to have understood the thing as 
well as any gentleman in Ireland. 

In truth, these oracles were in general gentlemen of good 
connections* and most respectable families, otherwise nobody 
would fight or consult them. 

Every family then had a case of hereditary pistols, which 
descended as an heir-loom, together with a long silver-hilted 
sword, for the use of their posterity. Our family pistols, deno- 

Why, he'd eat as mucli fire as fifty sweeps ; but he can't get a second man from 
this to Londonderry to join him." Glaucopis gave an inquisitive and amazed 
look, ' ' You see he always contrives to reserve his distance according to the 
Galway Rules (see 17th). He allows no blackguard to be beforehand with him, and 
so wisely gives the first insult. This secures him the choice of distance. He settles 
thus : two chairs four yards apart ; a brace of empty pistols ; a bason of fine dry 
powder, and another of bright bullets." " Dreadful ! what's the signal ?" " Both 
seconds count five as fast or as slow as they please ; the moment ' five ' is heard, 
the blazing begins, if ever." 

* There was an association in the year 1782, a volunteer corps, which was 
called the "Independent Light Horse." They were not confined to one district, 
and none could be admitted but the younger brothers of the most respectable 
families. They were all both "hilt and muzzle boys;" — and, that no member 
should set himself up as greater than another, every individual of the corps was 
obliged, on reception, to give his honour * ' that he could cover his fortune with 
the crown of his hat." 

Roscommon and Sligo then furnished some of the finest young fellows, fire- 
eaters, I ever saw ; their spirit and decorum were equally admirable, and their 
honour and liberality conspicuous on all occasions. — {Author's note.) 



minated pdtcrs '^ were brass (I believe my second brother has 
them still) : the barrels were very long jjoint-blankers. They 
were included in the armoury of our ancient castle of Ballynakill 
in the reign of Elizabetli (the stocks, locks, and hair-triggers 
were, however, modern), and had descended from father to son 
from that period : one of them was named " sweet lips," the 
other " the darling." The family rapier was called " skiver the 
pullet" by my grand-uncle. Captain Wheeler Barrington, who 
had fought witli it repeatedly, and run through different parts of 
their persons several Scots officers, who had challenged him all 
at once for some national reflection. It was a very long, narrow- 
bladed, straight cut-and-thmst, as sharp as a razor, with a silver 
hilt, and a guard of buff leather inside it. I kept this rapier as 
a curiosity for some time ; but it was stolen during my absence 
at Temple. 

I knew Jemmy Keogh extremely well. He was considered 
in the main a peacemaker, for he did not like to see anybody 
fight but himself ; and it was universally admitted that he never 
killed any man who did not well deserve it. He was a plausible, 
although black-looking fellow, with remarkably thick, long eye- 
brows closing with a tuft over his nose. He unfortunately killed 
a cripple in the Phoenix Park, which accident did him great 
mischief. He was land-agent to Bourke of Glinsk, to whom he 
always officiated as second. 

At length so many quarrels arose without sufficient provo- 
cation, and so many things were considered as quarrels of course, 
which were not quarrels at all, — that the principal fire-eaters of 
the South saw clearly disrepute was likely to be thrown on 
the science, and thought it full time to arrange matters upon a 
proper and rational footing ; and to regulate the time, place, and 
other circumstances of duelling, so as to govern all Ireland on 
one principle. 

A branch society had been formed in Dublin termed the 
"Knights of Tara," which met once a month at the theatre, 
Capel Street, gave premiums for fencing, and proceeded in the 

* Other names are hull-dogs, and bai ling-irons. 


barrington's personal sketches 

most laudably systematic manner. The amount of the admis- 
sion-money was laid out on silver cups, and given to the 
best fencers, as prizes, at quarterly exhibitions of pupils and 

Tencing with the small-sword is certainly a most beautiful 
and noble exercise : its acquirement confers a fine bold manly 
carriage, a dignified mien, a firm step, and graceful motion. But, 
alas ! its practisers are now supplanted by contemptible groups 
of smirking quadrillers with unweaponed belts, stuffed breasts, 
and strangled loins! — a set of squeaking dandies, whose sex 
may be readily mistaken, or, I should rather say, is of no con- 

The theatre of the Knights of Tara, on these occasions, was 
always overflowing : — the combatants were dressed in close cam- 
bric jackets, garnished with ribbons, each wearing the favourite 
colour of his fair one : bunches of ribbons also dangled at their 
knees, and roses adorned their morocco slippers, which had buff 
soles, to prevent noise in their lounges. 'No masks or visors were 
used, as in these more timorous times ; on the contrary, every 
feature was uncovered, and its inflections all visible. The ladies 
appeared in full morning dresses, each handing his foil to her 
champion for the day, and their presence animating the singular 
exhibition. From the stage-boxes the prizes likewise were 
handed to the conquerors by the fair ones, accompanied each 
with a wreath of laurel, and a smile then more valued than a 
hundred victories ! The tips of the foils were blackened, and 
therefore instantly betrayed the hits on the cambric jacket, and 
proclaimed without doubt the successful combatant. All was 
decorum, gallantry, spirit, and good temper. 

The Knights of Tara also had a select committee to decide 
on all actual questions of honour referred to them ; — to reconcile 
differences, if possible ; if not, to adjust the terms and continu- 
ance of single combat. Doubtful points were solved generally 

* Their dancing days are over. Young gentlemen now take their places in 
society in one or other of those distinguished classes — the mujfs, the swells, or 
the snobs 



on tlie peaceable side, provided women were not insulted or de- 
famed ; but wlien tliat was the case the knights were obdurate, 
and blood must be seen. They were constituted by ballot, 
something in the manner of the Jockey Club, but without the 
possibility of being dishonourable, or the opportunity of cheating 
each other. 

This most agreeable and useful association did not last above 
two or three years. I cannot tell why it broke up : I rather 
think, however, the original fire-eaters thought it frivolous, or 
did not like their own ascendency to be rivalled. It was said 
that they threatened direct hostilities against the knights ; and 
I am the more disposed to believe this, because, soon after, a 
comprehensive code of the laws and points of honour was issued 
from the Southern fire-eaters, with directions that it should be 
strictly observed by all gentlemen throughout the kingdom, and 
kept in their pistol-cases, that ignorance might never be pleaded. 
This code was not circulated in print, but very numerous written 
copies were sent to the different county clubs, etc. Mj father got 
one for his sons ; and I transcribed most (I believe not all) of it 
into some blank leaves. These rules brought the whole business 
of duelling into a focus, and have been much acted upon down 
to the present day. They called them in Galway " the thirty- 
six-commandments.' ' 

As far as my copy went, they appear to have run as 
follows : — 

EuLES OF Duelling. 

The practice of duelling and points of honour settled at Clonmell sum- 
mer assizes, 1777, by the gentlemen delegates of Tipperary, Galway, Mayo, 
Sligo, and Roscommon, and prescribed for general adoption throughout 

RcLE 1 . — The first offence requires the first apology, though the retort 
may have been more offensive than the insult : example ; — A tells B he is 
impertinent, etc., B retorts, that he lies : yet A must make the first 
apology, because he gave the first offence, and then (after one fire) B may 
explain away the retort by subsequent apology. 

Rule 2. — But if the parties would rather fight on, then, after two shots 
each (but in no case before), B may explain first, and A apologise afterwards. 


barrington's personal sketches 

N.B. — The above rules apply to all cases of offences in retort not of a 
stronger class tlian tlie example. 

Rule 3. — If a doubt exist who gave the first offence^ the decision rests 
with the seconds : if they won't decide or can't agree, the matter must pro- 
ceed to two shots, or to a hit, if the challenger require it. 

Rule 4. — When the lie direct is the first offence, the aggressor must 
either beg pardon in express terms, exchange two shots previous to apology, 
or three shots followed up by explanation ; or fire on till a severe hit be 
received by one party or the other. 

Rule 5. — As a blow is strictly prohibited under any circumstances 
amongst gentlemen, no verbal apology can be received for such an insult ; 
the alternatives therefore are — the offender handing a cane to the injured 
party, to be used on his own back, at the same time begging pardon ; 
firing on until one or both is disabled ; or exchanging three shots, and 
then asking pardon, without the proffer of the cane. 

If swords are used, the parties engage till one is well blooded, disabled, 
or disarmed ; or until, after receiving a wound, and blood being drawn, the 
aggressor begs pardon. 

N.B. — A disarm is considered the same as a disahle : the disarmer may 
(strictly) break his adversary's sword ; but if it be the challenger who is 
disarmed, it is considered as ungenerous to do so. 

In case the challenged be disarmed and refuses to ask pardon or atone, 
he must not be killed, as formerly ; but the challenger may lay his own 
sword on the aggressor's shoulder, then break the aggressor's sword, and 
say, " I spare your life ! " The challenged can never revive that quarrel — 
the challenger may. 

Rule 6. — If A gives B the lie, and B retorts by a blow (being the two 
greatest offences), no reconciliation can take place till after two discharges 
each, or a severe hit ; after which, B may beg A's pardon humbly for the 
blow, and then A may explain simjDly for the lie ; because a blow is never 
allowable, and the offence of the lie therefore merges in it. (See preceding 

N.B. — Challenges for undivulged causes may be reconciled on the 
ground after one shot. An explanation or the sliglitest hit should be suffi- 
cient in such cases, because no personal offence transpired. 

Rule 7. — But no apology can be received, in any case, after the parties 
have actually taken their ground, Avitliout exchange of fires. 

Rule 8. — In the above case, no challenger is obliged to divulge his 
cause of challenge (if private), unless required by the challenged so to do 
before their meeting. 

Rule 9. — All imputations of cheating at play, races, etc., to be con- 
sidered equivalent to a blow ; but may be reconciled after one shot, on 
admitting their falsehood, and begging pardon publicly. 



Rule 10. — Any insult to a lady under a gentleman's care or protec- 
tion to be considered as, by one degree, a greater offence than if given to 
the gentleman personally, and to be regulated accordingly. 

Rule 11. — Offences originating or accruing from the support of ladies' 
reputation to be considered as less unjustifiable than any others of the 
same class, and as admitting of slighter apologies by the aggressor : this to 
be detennined by tlie circumstances of the case, but always favourably to 
the lady. 

Rule 12. — In simple unpremeditated rencontres with the small sword, 
or couteau-de-chasse, the rule is — first draw, first sheath ; unless blood be 
d^a^^^l ; then both sheath and proceed to investigation. 

Rule 13. — No dumb-shooting or firing in the air admissible in any 
case. The challenger ought not to have challenged without receiving 
offence ; and the challenged ought, if he gave offence, to have made an 
apology before he came on the ground : therefore, children's jplay must be 
dishonourable on one side or the other, and is accordingly prohibited. 

Rule 14. — Seconds to be of equal rank in society with the principals 
they attend, inasmuch as a second may either choose or chance to become 
a principal, and equality is indispensable. 

Rule 15. — Challenges are never to be delivered at night, unless the 
party to be challenged intend leaving the place of offence before morning ; 
for it is desirable to avoid all hot-headed proceedings. 

Rule 16. — The challenged has the right to choose his own weapon, 
unless the challenger gives his honour he is no swordsman ; after which, 
however, he camiot decline any second species of weapon proposed by the 

Rule 17. — The challenged chooses his ground : the challenger chooses 
his distance : the seconds fix the time and terms of firing. 

Rule 18. — The seconds load in presence of each other, unless they 
give their mutual honours they have charged smooth and single, which 
should be held sufficient. 

Rule 19. — Firing may be regulated — first, by signal ; secondly, by 
word of command ; or, thirdly, at pleasure — as may be agreeable to the 
parties. In the latter case, the parties may fire at their reasonable leisure, 
but second presents and rests are strictly prohibited. 

Rule 20. — In all cases, a miss-fire is equivalent to a shot, and a snap 
or a non-cock is to be considered as a miss-fire. 

Rule 21. — Seconds are bound to attempt a reconciliation hefore the 
meeting takes place, or after sufficient firing or hits, as specified. 

Rule 22. — Any wound sufficient to agitate the nerves and necessarily 
make the hand shake, must end the business for that day. 

Rule 23. — If the cause of meeting be of such a nature that no 
apology or explanation can or will be received, the challenged takes his 


bareington's personal sketches 

ground, and calls on tlie challenger to proceed as lie chooses : in snch cases, 
firing at pleasure is the usual practice, but may he varied by agreement. 

EuLE 24. — In slight cases, the second hands his principal but one 
pistol ; but in gross cases two, holding another case ready-charged in 

Rule 25. — Where seconds disagree, and resolve to exchange shots 
themselves, it must be at the same time and at right angles with their 
principals, thus : — 



If with swords, side by side, with five paces interval. 
J^'B. — All matters and. doubts not herein mentioned will be explained 
and cleared up by application to the committee, who meet alternately at 
Clonmell and Gal way, at the quarter- sessions, for that purpose. 

Crow Ryan, President. 
James Keogh, 
Amby Bodkin, 

Additional Galway Articles. 

Rule 1. — No party can be allowed to bend his knee or cover his side 
with his left hand ; but may present at any level from the hip to the eye. 

Rule 2. — None can either advance or retreat, if the ground be 
measured ; if no ground be measured, either party may advance at his plea- 
sure, even to touch muzzle ;. but neither can advance on his adversary after 
the fire, unless the adversary steps forward on him. 

N.B. — The seconds on both sides stand responsible for this last rule 
being strictly observed ; bad cases having accrued from neglecting of it.* 

* A wisp of a witling, known as Annadale Hamilton, concocted two mortal 
volumes on "Duelling," one of which was entituled "The Code of Honour." 
They were published in Dublin about thirty years ago, at the expense of his 
brother philanthropists, whom he ruined by incessant levies. The literary merits 
of his books and pamphlets, combined with his importunities, rapidly dis- 
heartened fighting philanthropy and literary subscriptions. It is said he almost 
annihilated the metropolitan contributions to the Bible Society. If the amount 
of unemployed genius in Dublin were spiritedly patronised, it is thought it would 
bring a million a-year into circulation, and relieve the banks of their stagnant 
repletion. I'd recommend a reprint of "The Code of Honour" for the benefit 
of book-makers. 

> Secretaries, 



These rules and resolutions of the "Fire-eaters" and " Knights 
of Tara " were the more deeply impressed on my mind, from my 
having run a great chance of losing my life, when a member of 
the university, in consequence of the strict observance of one of 
them. A young gentleman of Galway, Mr. Eichard Daly, then 
a Templar, had the gi-eatest predilection for single combat of any 
person I ever recollect. He had fought sixteen duels in the 
space of two years : three with swords and thirteen with pistols ; 
yet, with so little skill, or so much good fortime, that not a 
wound worth mentioning occurred in the course of the whole. 
This gentleman afterwards figured for many years as patentee of 
the Theatre Eoyal, Dubbn, and had the credit of first introducing 
that superior woman and actress, Mrs. Jordan, when Miss Francis, 
on the Dublin boards. 

I was surprised one winter's evening at college by receiving 
a written challenge in the nature of an imdtation, from Mr. 
Daly, to fight him early the ensuing morning. I never had 
spoken a word to him in my life, and scarcely of him, and no 
possible cause of quarrel that I could guess existed between us. 
However, it being then a decided opinion that a first overture of 
that nature could never be declined, I accepted the invitation 
"without any inquiry ; \\Titing, in reply, that as to place I chose 
the field of Donnybrook fair as the fittest spot for all sorts of 
encounters. I had then to look out for a second, and resorted to 
a person with whom I was very intimate, and who, as he was a 
curious character, may be worth noticing. He was brother to the 
unfortunate Sir Edward Crosby, Bart., who was murdered by a 
court-martial at Carlo w, May 1798.* My friend was afterwards 
called " Balloon Crosby," being the first aeronaut who constructed 
a Hibernian balloon, and ventured to take a journey into the 
sky from Ireland.f 

* About the same time as Mr. Cornelius Grogan of Jolmston Castle, Wexford, 
whom the insurgents forced into their service. Though an opposition member, 
and perhaps a sympathiser with the movement, it is thought that his appearance 
among the armed bands was not a voluntary act. He was a feeble old man, 
beyond seventy. 

t And a most unfortunate journey it was for the spectators. The ascent was 


baerington's personal sketches 

Crosby was of immense stature, being above six feet three 
inches high. He had a comely-looking, fat, ruddy face, and was, 
beyond all comparison, the most ingenious mechanic I ever knew. 
He had a smattering of all sciences, and there was scarcely an 
art or a trade of which he had not some practical knowledge. 
His chambers at college were like a general workship for all kinds 
of artizans. He was very good tempered, exceedingly strong, and 
as brave as a lion ; but as dogged as a mule. Nothing could 
change a resolution of his, when once made ; and nothing could 
check or resist his perseverance to carry it into execution. He 
highly approved of my promptness in accepting Daly's invitation, 
but I told him that I unluckily had no pistols, and did not know 
where to procure any against the next morning. This puzzled 
him ; but on recollection, he said he had no complete pistols 
either ; but he had some old locks, barrels, and stocks, which, as 
they did not originally belong to each other, he should find it 
very difficult to make anything of. Nevertheless, he would fall 
to work directly. He kept me up till late at night in his cham- 
bers to help him in filing the old locks and barrels, and endea- 
vouring to patch up two or three of them so as to go off and 
answer that individual job. Various trials were made. Much 
filing, drilling, and scanning were necessary. However, by two 
o'clock in the morning, we had completed three entire pistols, 
which, though certainly of various lengths and of the most 
ludicrous workmanship, struck their fire right well, and that was 
all we wanted of them — symmetry, .as he remarked, being of no 
great value upon these occasions. 

It was before seven o'clock on the twentieth of March, with 
a cold wind and a sleety atmosphere, that we set out on foot for 
the field of Donnybrook fair, after having taken some good cho- 
colate and a plentiful draught of cherry brandy, to keep the cold 
wind out. On arriving, we saw my antagonist and his friend 

from the Duke of Leinster's lawn, Merrion Square. The crowds outside were 
immense, and so many squeezed together and leaned against a thick parapet wall 
fronting the street, that it gave way, and the spectators and wall came tumbling 
down together. Several were killed, and many disabled. — {Author's note.) 



Jack Patterson, nephew to the chief-justice, abeady on the ground. 
I shall never forget Daly's figiu-e. He was a very fine-looking 
voung fellow, but with such a squint that it was totally im- 
possible to say what he looked at, except his nose, of which he 
never lost sight. His dress made me ashamed of my own : he 
wore a pea-green coat ; a large tucker with a diamond brooch 
stuck in it ; a three-cocked hat with a gold button-loop and tas- 
sels ; and silk stockings ; and a ccmteaiv-de-chasse hung gracefully 
dangUng from liis thigk In fact, he looked as if already stand- 
LDg in a state of triumph, after ha^ing vanquished and trampled 
on his antagonist. I did not half like his steady position, showy 
surface, and mysterious squint ; and I certainly woidd rather have 
exchanged tico shots with his slovenly friend, Jack Patterson, 
than one with so magnificent and overbearing an adversary. 

My friend Crosby, without any sort of salutation or prologue, 
immediately cried out, " Ground, gentlemen ! ground, ground ! 
damn measurement !" and placiug me on his selected spot, 
whispered iuto my ear, "Medio tutissimus ibis: never look at the 
head or the heels : hip the maccaroni ! the hip for ever, my boy ! 
lup, hip ! " — when my antagonist's second, advancing and accost- 
ing mine, said, Mr. Daly could not think of going any further 
with the busiuess ; that he foimd it was totally a mistake on his 
part, originating through misrepresentation, and that he begged 
to say he was extremel}' sorry for ha\'ing given Mr. Barrington 
and his friend the trouble of coming out, hoping they would ex- 
cuse it and shake hands with him. To this arrangement I cer- 
tainly had no sort of objection ; but Crosby, without hesitation, 
said, " We cannot do that yet, sir : I'll show you we can't (tak- 
ing a little manuscript book out of his breeches' pocket) : there's 
the rule ! — ^look at that, sir," continued he, " see Xo. 7 ; — no 
apology can be received after the parties meet, unthout a fire. 
You see, there's the rule," pursued Crosby, with infinite self- 
satisfaction ; " and a young man on his first hlood cannot break 
rule, particularly with a gentleman so used to the sport as Mr. 
Daly. Come, gentlemen, proceed ! proceed ! " 

Daly appeared much displeased, but took his groimd, with- 


barrington's personal sketches 

out speaking a word, about nine paces from me. He presented 
his pistol instantly, but gave me most gallantly a full front. 

It being, as Crosby said, my first blood, I lost no time, but 
let fly without a single second of delay, and without taking aim : 
Daly staggered back two or three steps, put his hand to his 
breast, cried, "I'm hit, sir!" and did not fire. Crosby gave me 
a slap on the back which staggered me, and a squeeze of the 
hand which nearly crushed my fingers. We got round him : his 
waistcoat was opened, and a black spot, about the size of a crown- 
piece, with a little blood, appeared directly on his breast-bone. 
I was greatly shocked : fortunately, however, the ball had not 
penetrated ; but his brooch had been broken, and a piece of the 
setting was sticking fast in the bone. Crosby stamped, cursed 
the damp powder or under-loading, and calmly pulled out the 
brooch : Daly said not a word ; put his cambric handkerchief 
doubled to his breast, and bowed. I returned the salute, ex- 
tremely glad to get out of the scrape, and so we parted without 
conversation or ceremony ; save that when I expressed my wish 
to know the cause of his challenging me, Daly replied that he 
would now give no such explanation, and his friend then pro- 
duced his book of rules, quoting ISTo. 8 : — " If a party challenged 
accepts the challenge without asking the reason of it, the chal- 
lenger is never bound to divulge it afterwards." 

My friend Crosby, as I have mentioned, afterwards attempted 
to go off from Dublin to England in a balloon of his own making, 
and dropped between Dublin and Holyhead into the sea, but was 
saved. The poor fellow, however, died far too early in life for the 
arts and sciences, and for friendship, which he was eminently 
capable of exciting. I never saw two persons in face and figure 
more alike than Crosby and my friend Daniel O'Connell : but 
Crosby was the taller by two inches, and it was not so easy to 
discover that he was an Irishman. 




Our electioiis were more prolific in duels than any otlier public 
meetings : they very seldom originated at a horse-race, cock-fight, 
hunt, or at any place of amusement : folks then had pleasure in 
view, and "something else to do" than to quarrel; but at all 
elections, or at assizes, or, in fact, at any place of business, almost 
every man, without any very particular reason, immediately be- 
came a A-iolent partisan, and frequently a furious enemy to some- 
body else ; and gentlemen often got themselves shot before they 
could tell what they were fighting about. 

At an election for Queen's County, between General Walsh 
and Mr. Warbiirton of Garr}-hinch, about the year 1783, took 
place the most curious duel of any which have occurred within 
my recollection. A Mr. Frank Skelton, one of the haK-mounted 
gentlemen described in the early part of this volume — a boister- 
ous, joking, fat young fellow — was prevailed on, much against 
his grain, to challenge the exciseman of the town for running 
the butt-end of a horse-whip down his throat the night before, 
whilst he lay drimk and sleeping with his mouth open. The 
exciseman insisted that snoring at a dinner-table was a personal 
offence to every gentleman in company, and would therefore make 
no apology. 

Frank, though he had been nearly choked, was very reluctant 
to fight ; he said " he was sure to die if he did, as the exciseman 
could snuff a candle with his pistol-ball ; and as he himseK was 
as big as a hundred dozen of candles, what chance could he 
have?" We told him jocosely to give the exciseman no time to 
take aim at him, by which means, he might perhaps hit his ad- 
versary first, and thus survive the contest. He seemed some- 


barpjngton's personal sketches 

what encouraged and consoled by the hint, and most strictly did 
he adhere to it. 

Hundreds of the towns-people went to see the fight on the green 
of Maryborough. The ground was regularly measured ; and the 
friends of each party pitched a ragged tent on the green, where 
whisky and salt-beef were consumed in abundance. Skelton 
having taken his ground, and at the same time two heavy drams 
from a bottle his foster-brother had brought, appeared quite stout 
till he saw the balls entering the mouths of the exciseman's 
pistols, which shone as bright as silver, and were nearly as long 
as fusils. This vision made a palpable alteration in Skelton's 
sentiments : he changed colour, and looked about him as if he 
wanted some assistance. However, their seconds, who were of 
the same rank and description, handed to each party his case of 
pistols, and half bellowed to them — " Blaze away, boys ! " 

Skelton now recollected his instructions, and lost no time: 
he cocked loth his pistols at once ; and as the exciseman was 
deliberately and most scientifically coming to his " dead level," 
as he called it, Skelton let fly. 

" Halloa ! " said the exciseman, dropping his level, " I'm bat- 
tered by ! " 

" The devil's cure to you ! " said Skelton, instantly firing his 
second pistol. 

One of the exciseman's legs then gave way, and down he 
came on his knee, exclaiming " Holloa ! holloa ! you bloodthirsty 
villain ! do you want to take my life ? " 

" Why, to be sure I do ! " said Skelton. " Ha ! ha ! have I 
stiffened you, my ladl" Wisely judging, however, that if he 
stayed till the exciseman recovered his legs, he might have a couple 
of shots to stand, he wheeled about, took^' to his heels, and got 
away as fast as possible. The crowd shouted ; but Skelton, like 
a hare when started, ran the faster for the shouting. 

Jemmy Moffit, his own second, followed, overtook, tripped 
up his heels, and cursing him for a disgraceful rascal, asked 
" why he ran away from the exciseman ? " 

" Ough, thunther ! " said Skelton, with his chastest brogue, 



" how many holes did the villain want to have drilled into his 
carcass ? Would you have me stop to make a riddle of him, 

The second insisted that Skelton should return to the field, 
to be shot at. He resisted, affirming that he had done all that 
homur required. The second called him " a coward I " 

" By my sowl," returned he, " my dear Jemmy Moffit, may 
be so ! you may call me a coward if you plase ; but I did it all 
for tJie hcstr 

" The hcst, you blackguard ? " 

" Yes," said Frank ; " sure it's hettcr to be a coward than a 
corpse ! and I must have been either one or f other of them." 

However, he was dragged up to the gi^ound by his second, 
after agreeing to fight again, if he had another pistol given him. 
But, luckily for Frank, the last bullet had stuck so fast between 
the bones of the exciseman's leg that he could not stand. The 
friends of the latter then proposed to strap him to a tree, that he 
might be able to shoot Skelton ; but this being positively ob- 
jected to by Frank, the exciseman was carried home : his first 
wound was on the side of his thigh, and the second in Ms right 
leg ; but neither proved at all dangerous. 

The exciseman, determined on luding Frank, as he called it, 
on his recovery challenged Skelton in his turn. Skelton accepted 
the challenge, and chose fists as the weapons. These implements 
the exciseman declined, and the affair dropped. 

The only modern ^instance I recollect to have heard of as 
applicable to No. 25 (refer to the regulations detailed in last 
sketch), was that of old John Bourke of Glinsk, and ]Mr. Amby 
Bodkin. They fought near Glinsk, and the old family steward 
and other servants brought out the present Sir John, then a 
child, and held him upon a man's shoulder to see papa fight. 
On that occasion, both principals and seconds engaged : they 
stood at right angles, ten paces distant, and all began firmg to- 
'gether on the signal of a pistol discharged by an umpire. At 
the first volley the two principals were touched, though very 
slightly. The second volley told better ; — both the seconds, and 


barrington's personal sketches 

Amby Bodkl^i^ Esq., staggered out of their places : they were well 
hit but no lives lost. It was, according to custom, an election 

The Gaiway rule 'No. 2 was well exemplified in a duel be- 
tween a frie:'^^ mine, the present first counsel to the Commis- 
sioners of Ireland, and a counsellor O'Maher. O'Maher was the 
challenger : ground was measured ; they fired ad libitum. 

Q nevei ^ ^^^s upon such occasions, took his ground at 

once, and keP^ steadily : O'Maher began his career at a hundred 
paces' distaii^^^®? advancing obliquely and gradually contracting 
his circle ro^^^ opponent, who continued changing his front 
by correspoi^^i^g movements ; both parties now and then aiming 
as feints, t^^^^ taking down their pistols. This pas de deux 
lasted mor^ than half-an-hour, as I have been informed ; at 
length, wheP- assailant had contracted his circle to firing dis- 

l^ajice^ Q- -^r cried out, suddenly and loudly : O'Maher obeyed 

the signal, instantly fired : G — y returned the shot, and the 
challenger I'eeled back hors de combat. 

On the same occasion, Mr. O'Maher's second said to G — 's, 
the famous counsellor ISTed Lysight, " Mr. Lysight, take care ; 
your pistol 5^ cocked ! " — "Well then," said Lysight, " cock yours, 
and let me take a slap at you, as we are idle 1 " However, this 
proposition ^as not acceded to. 

There cP"^!^ ^ greater game-cock than G — y. He was 

not only sjfi^i^®^ himself, but the cause of infusing spirit into 
others. It appear, from the following friendly letter which 
I received fi'om him during my contested election for Mary- 
borough, tl^^t Lord Castlecoote, the returning of&cer, had a 
tolerable cB^^^® becoming acquainted with my friend's re- 
porters (the pet name for hair-triggers), which he was so good as 
to send me ^^r the occasion. His Lordship, however, declined 
the introduption. 

"Dublin, Jan. 29th, 1800. 

" My d^^i" Jonah, 

" I have this moment sent to the mail coach-office two 
bullet-moulcl-S, not being certain which of them belongs to the 



reporters : suspecting, however, that you may not have time to 
melt the lead, I also send half-a-dozen bullets, merely to keep 
you going while others are preparing. 

" I lament much that my situation and political feeling pre- 
vent me from seeing you exhibit at Maryborough. 
" Be bold, wicked, steady, and fear nought ! 

" Give a line to yom^s truly, 

" H. D. G. 

" Jonah Barrington, Esq." 

My friend G — y did not get off so well in a little affair 
which he had in Hyde Park in the night, on wliich occasion I 
was liis guardian ; a counsellor Campbell happened to be a better 
shot than my friend, and the moon had the unpleasant view of his 
discomfiture : he got what they call a crack ; however it did not 
matter much, and in a few days G — y was on his legs again. 

There could not be a better elucidation of Eule No. 5 of the 
code of honour than an anecdote of Barry Yelverton, second son 
of Lord Avonmore, baron of the exchequer. Barry was rather too 
(jdd a fellow to have been accounted at all times perfectly compos 
mentis. He was a barrister. In a ball-room on circuit, where 
the ofi&cers of a newly-arrived regunent had come to amuse them- 
selves and set the ^lunster lasses agog, Bany, ha\dng made too 
many libations, let out his natural dislike to the military, and 
most grossly insulted several of the officers ; abusing one, tread- 
ing on the toes of another, jostling a third, and so forth, till he 
had got through the whole regiment. Eespect for the women, 
and reluctance to commit themselves with the black gowns on 
the first day of their anival, induced the insulted parties to con- 
tent themselves with only requiring Barry's address, and his hour 
of ^i.sibility next morning. Barry, with great satisfaction, gave 
each of them his card, but informed them that sending to him 
was unnecessary ; — that he was his own second, and would meet 
every man of them at eight o'clock next morning, in the ball- 
room ; concluding by desiring them to bring their swords, as that 
was always his weapon. Though this was rather a curious ren- 

VOL. I. U 


baeeington's peesonal sketches 

dezvous, yet, the clialleiiged having the right to choose his weapon, 
and the place being a propos, the officers all attended next day 
punctually, with the surgeon of the regiment and a due propor- 
tion of small-swords, fully expecting that some of his brother 
gownsmen would join in the rencontre. On their arrival, Barry 
requested to know how many gentlemen had done him the 
honour of giving him the invitation, and was told their names, 
amounting to nine. "Yery well, gentlemen," said Yelverton ; "I 
am well aware I abused some of you, and gave others an offence 
equivalent to a blow, which latter being the greatest insult, we'll 
dispose of those cases first, and I shall return in a few minutes 
fully prepared." 

They conceived he had gone for his sword and friends. But 
Barry soon after returned alone, and resumed thus : — " IsTow, 
gentlemen, those to each of whom I gave an equivalent to a 
blow, will please step forward :" — four of them accordingly did 
so, when Barry took from under his coat a bundle of switches, 
and addressed them as follows : Gentlemen, permit me to have 
the honour of handing each of you a switch (according to the 
Kule N'o. 5 of the Tipperary Eesolutions), wherewith to return 
the blow, if you feel any particular desire to put that extremity 
into practice : I fancy, gentlemen, that settles four of you ; and 
as to the rest, here" — handing one of his cards to each, with / heg 
yoior pardon wiitten above his name — "that's agreeable to No. 1" 
(reading the rule). " Now I fancy all your cases are disposed 
of ; and having done my duty according to the Tipperary Eesolu- 
tions, which I will never swerve from, — if, gentlemen, you are 
not satisfied, I shall be on the bridge to-morrow morning, with a 
case of harhing-ironsr The officers stared, first at him, then at 
each other : the honest, jolly countenance and drollery of Barry 
were quite irresistible ; first a smile of surprise, and then a 
general laugh, took place, and the catastrophe was their asking 
Barry to dine with them at the mess, where his eccentricity and 
good humour delighted the whole regiment. The poor fellow 
grew quite deranged at last, and died, I believe, in rather unplea- 
sant circumstances. 



The late Lord Mount Garret, afterwards Earl of Kilkenny, 
had for several years a gi^eat number of lawsuits at once on his 
hands, particularly with some insolvent tenants, whose causes 
had been gratuitously taken up by Mr. Ball, an attorney, Mr. 
William Johnson, the barrister, and seven or eight others of the 
circuit. His Lordship was dreadfully tormented. He was natu- 
rally a very clever man, and devised a new mode of carrying on 
his lawsuits. He engaged a clientless attorney, named Egan, 
as his working solicitor, at a very liberal yearly stij)end, upon 
the express terms of his undertaking no other business, and hold- 
ing his office solely in liis Lordship's own house and under his 
own eye and direction. His Lordship applied to ^Ir. Fletcher, 
afterwards judge, and myself, requesting an interview ; upon 
which he informed us of his situation ; that there were generally 
ten counsel pitted against him, but that he would have much 
more reliance on the advice and punctual attendance of two 
steady than of ten straggling gentlemen ; and that, under the 
full conviction that one of us would always attend the courts 
when his causes were called on, and not leave him in the lurch 
as he had been left, he had directed his attorneys to mark on 
our two briefs ten times the amount of fees paid to each on the 
other side : " Because," said liis Lordship, " if you won't surely 
attend, I must engage ten counsel, as well as my opponents, and 
perhaps not be attended to after all " The singularity of the 
proposal set us laughing, in which his Lordship joined. 

Fletcher and I accepted the offer, and did most punctually 
attend his numerous trials — were most liberally fee'd — but most 
unsuccessful in our efforts ; for we were never able to gain a 
single cause or verdict for our client. 

The principle of strict justice certainly was with his Lordship, 
but certain formalities of the law were decidedly against him : 
thus, perceiving himseK likely to be foiled, he determined to take 
another course, quite out of our line, and a course whereby no 
suit is decided in modern days — namely to fight it out, muzzle 
to muzzle, with the attorney and all the counsel on the other 


bakrington's personal sketches 

The first procedure on this determination was a direct chal- 
lenge from his Lordship to the attorney, Mr. Ball : it was accepted, 
and a duel immediately followed, in which his Lordship got the 
worst of it. He was wounded by the attorney at each shot, the 
first having taken place in his Lordship's right arm, which pro- 
bably saved the solicitor, as his Lordship was a most accurate 
marksman. The noble challenger received the second bullet in 
his side, but the wound was not dangerous. 

My Lord and the attorney having been thus disposed of, the 
honourable Somerset Butler, his Lordship's son, now took the 
field, and proceeded, according to due form, by a challenge to 
Mr. Peter Burrowes, the first of the adversaries' counsel, now 
judge-commissioner of insolvents. The invitation not being 
refused, the combat took place, one cold frosty morning, near 
Kilkenny. Somerset knew his business well ; but Peter had had 
no practice whatever in that line of litigation. 

Pew persons feel too warm on such occasions. An old woman 
who sold spiced gingerbread-nuts in the street he passed through 
accosted him, extolling her nuts to the very skies. Peter bought 
a pennyworth on the advice of his second, Dick Waddy, an attor- 
ney, and duly receiving the change of a sixpenny-piece, put the 
coppers and nuts into his waistcoat pocket, and marched off to the 
scene of action. 

Preliminaries being soon arranged, the pistols given, ten 
steps measured, the flints hammered, and the feather-springs 
set, Somerset, a fine dashing young fellow, full of spirit, activity, 
and animation, gave elderly Peter but little time to take his 
fighting position ; in fact, he had scarcely raised his pistol to a 
wabbling level, before Somerset's ball came crach dash against 
Peter's body. The halfpence rattled in his pocket. Peter dropped 
fiat. Somerset fled. Dick Waddy roared "Murder!" and called 
out to Surgeon Pack. Peter's clothes were ripped up, and Pack, 
secundum artem, examined the wound. A black hole designated 
the spot where the lead had penetrated Peter's abdomen. The 
doctor shook his head, and pronounced but one short word — 
" mortal !" It was, however, more expressive than a long speech. 



Peter groaned, and tried to recollect some prayer, if possible, or 
a scrap of liis catechism. His friend Waddy began to think 
about the coroner ; his brother barristers sighed heavily ; and 
Peter was supposed to be fast departing this world, when Surgeon 
Pack, after another exclamation, taking leave of Peter, and lean- 
ing his hand on the grass to assist him in rising, felt something 
hard, took it up, and looked at it curiously. The spectators 
closed in the circle to see Peter die. The patient turned his 
expiring eyes towards Surgeon Pack, as much as to ask, " Is 
there no hope?" — when lo ! the doctor held up to the astonished 
assembly the identical hillet, which had flattened its owti body 
on the surface of a copper, and left his Majesty's bust distinctly 
imprinted, in black and blue shading, on his subject's carcass ! 
Peter's heart beat high ; he lost as little time as possible in 
rising from the sod on which he had lain extended ; a bandage 
was applied roimd his body, and in a short time Peter was alle 
to begin the combat anew. 

His Lordship having now, on his part, recovered from the 
attorney's wound, considered it high time to recommence hostili- 
ties according to his original plan of the campaign ; and the 
engagement immediately succeeding was between him and the 
present counsellor John Byrne, king's counsel, and next in rota- 
tion of his learned adversaries. 

His Lordship was much pleased with the spot upon which 
his son had chosen to hit counsellor Peter, and resolved to select 
the same for a hit on counsellor John. The decision appeared 
to be judicious ; and, as if the pistol itself could not be ignorant 
of its direction, and had been gratified at its own previous accu- 
racy and success, for it was the same, it sent a bullet in the 
identical level, and counsellor John Byrne's carcass received a 
precisely similar compliment with counsellor Peter Burrowes's, 
with this difference, that the former had bought no gingerbread 
nuts, and the matter consequently appeared more serious. I 
asked him during his illness how he felt when he received the 
crack. He answered, just as if he had been punched by the 
mainmast of a man of war ! Certainly a grand simile ; but how 


baeeington's personal sketches 

far my friend Byrne was enabled to form the comparison he 
never divulged to me. 

My Lord having got through two of them, and his son a 
third, it became the duty of Captain Pierce Butler, brother to 
Somerset, to take his turn in the lists. The barristers now began 
not much to relish this species of argument ; and a gentleman 
who followed next bnt one on the list owned fairly to me that 
he would rather be on our side of the qu.estion. But it was 
determined by our noble client, so soon as the jSrst series of 
combats should be finished, to begin a new one, till he and the lads 
had tried the mettle, or " touched the inside, " of the remaining 
barristers. Mr. Dicky Guinness, a little, dapper, popular, lisp- 
ing, jesting pleader, was the next on the list ; and the honour- 
able Pierce Butler, his intended slaughterer, was advised, for 
variety's sake, to put what is called the onus on that little gentle- 
man, and thereby force Mm to become the challenger. 

Dick's friends kindly and candidly informed him that he 
could have but little chance, the honourable Pierce being one of 
the most resolute of a courageous family, and quite an undevi- 
ating marksman ; that he had, besides, a hot, persevering, thirsty 
spirit, which a little fighting would never satisfy ; and as Dicky 
was secretly informed that he would to a certainty be forced to 
battle, it being his turn, and as his speedy dissolution was nearly 
as certain, he was recommended to settle all his worldly concerns 
without delay. 

But it was otherwise decided. Providence took Dick's part. 
The honourable Pierce injudiciously put his onus, rather a wicked 
one, on Dick in open court before the judge ; an uproar ensued, 
and the honourable Pierce hid himself under the table. How- 
ever, the Sheriff lugged him out, and prevented that encounter 
effectually. Pierce with great difficulty escaping from incarcera- 
tion on giving his honour not to meddle with Dicky. At 
length his Lordship, finding that neither the laws of the land 
nor those of battle were likely to adjust affairs to his satisfac- 
tion, suffered them to be terminated by the three duels and as 
many wounds. 



Leonard M'Xally,'" well known both at the English and Irish 
bars, and in the dramatic circles, as the author of that popular 
little piece, " Eobin Hood," etc., was one of the strangest fellows 
in the world His figure was ludicrous ; he was very short, and 
nexirly as broad as long. His legs were of unequal length, and 
he had a face which no washing could clean. He wanted one 
thumb, the absence of which gave rise to numerous expedients on 
his part ; and he took great care to have no nails, as he regularly 
ate every morning the gro^^i:ll of the preceding day. He never 
wore a glove, lest he should appear to be guilty of affectation in 
concealing his deformity. AMien in a hurT}% he generally took 
two thumping steps with the short leg to bring up the space made 
by the long one ; and the bar, who never missed a favoiu-able 
opportunity of nicknaming, called him accordingly, " One pound 
two." He possessed, however, a fine eye, and by no means an 
ugly countenance ; a great deal of middling intellect ; a shrill, 
full, good bar voice ; great quickness at cross-examination, with 
sufficient adroitness at defence ; and lq Ireland was the very staff 
and standing-dish of the criminal jurisdictions. In a word, 
M'Xally was a good-natured, hospitable, talented, dirty fellow ; 
and had by the latter qualification so disgusted the circuit bar, 
that they refused to receive him at their mess — a cruelty I set 
my face agaiast, and every summer circuit endeavoured to vote 
him into the mess, but always ineffectually ; his neglect of his 
person, the shrillness of liis voice, and his frequenting low com- 
pany, being assigned as reasons which never could be set aside. 

^I'Xally had done something in the great cause of Xapper 
and Button, which brought him into still further disrepute with 
the bar. Anxious to regain his station by some act equalising 

* This gentleman was one of the popular barristers employed in defending the 
raifortunate prisoners of 1798. He was in the pay of government, and performed 
good service in return, by disclosing beforehand the line of defence he intended to 
pursue, and betraying its weak points. Sir Jonah did not live to see the expo- 
sure of this fellow's baseness. He says M'Xally possessed a middling intellect — 
a respectable endowment when accompanied with a frank, generous heart This 
he had not in the least. But oh, the luck of rogues I ho survived his treachery 
many years, and died before its full discovery. 


baeeington's peesonal sketches 

him witli liis brethren, he determined to offend or challenge some 
of the most respectable members of the profession, who, however, 
showed no inclination to oblige him in that way. He first tried 
his hand with counsellor Henry Deane Grady, a veteran, but 
who upon this occasion refused the combat. M'^N'ally, who was 
as intrepid as possible, by no means despaired ; he was so 
obliging as to honour me with the next chance, and in further- 
ance thereof, on very little provocation, gave me the retort, not 
courteous, in the court of King's Bench. 

I was well aware of his object ; and, not feeling very com- 
fortable under the insult, told him, taking out my watch, 
" M'JsTally, you shall meet me in the Park in an hour." 

The little fellow's eyes sparkled with pleasure at the invita- 
tion, and he instantly replied, " In lialf-an-liour, if you please," 
comparing, at the same moment his watch with mine : — " I hope 

you won't disappoint me," continued he, " as that Grady 


" Never fear, Mac," answered I ; " there's not a gentleman at 
the bar but will fight you to-morroiu, provided you live so long, 
which I can't promise." 

We had no time to spare, so parted to get ready. The first 
man I met was Mr. Henry Harding, a huge, wicked, fighting 
King's County attorney. I asked him to come out with me : 
to him it was fine sport. I also summoned Eice Gibbon, a 
surgeon, who, being the most ostentatious fellow imaginable, 
brought an immense bag of surgical instruments, etc., from 
Mercer's Hospital. In forty-five minutes we were regularly 
posted in the middle of the review-ground in the Phoenix Park ; 
and the whole scene, to any person not so seriously implicated, 
must have been irresistibly ludicrous. The sun shone brightly ; 
and Surgeon Gibbon, to lose no time in case of a hit, spread out 
all his polished instruments on the grass, glittering in the light 
on one side of me. My second having stepped nine paces, 
then stood at the other side, and handed me a case of pistols. 
M'lSTally stood before me, very like a beer-barrel on its stilling, 
and by his side were ranged three unfortunate barristers, who 



were all soon afterwards hanged and beheaded for high- 
treason — namely, John Sheares (who was his second, and had 
given him his point-blanhs), with Heniy Sheares and Bagenal 
Harvey,* who came as amateurs. Both of the latter, I believe, 
were amicably disposed ; but a negotiation could not be 
admitted, and to it we went. ^rXally presented so coolly, that 
I could plainly see I had but little chance of being missed, so I 
thought it best to lose no time on my part. The poor fellow 
staggered, and cried out, "I am hit I" and I found some twitch 
myself at the moment which I could not at the time account 
for. Xever did I experience so miserable a feeling. He had 
received my ball directly in the curtain of his side. It appeared 
to have hit the buckle of his gallows, yclept suspenders, by 
which it had been partially impeded, and had turned round, 
instead of entering his body. Whilst I was still in dread as to 
the result, my second, aft^r seeing that he had been so far 
protected by the suspenders, inhumanly exclaimed, " Mac ! 
you are the only rogue I ever knew that was saved by the 
gallows r 

On returning home, I found the skirt of my coat perforated 
on both sides, and a scratch of the skin on both my thighs. 
This accoimts for the tiritch I have spoken of. 

My opponent soon recovered, and after the precedent of 
being wounded by a King's Counsel, he could not afterwards be 
decently refused satisfaction by any barrister. He was, there- 
fore, no longer insulted, and the poor fellow has often told me 
since that my shot was his salvation. 

Leonard was a great poetaster ; and having fallen in love 
with a !Miss Janson, daughter to a very rich attorney, of 
Bedford Eow, London, he wrote on her the celebrated song of 
" The Lass of Eichmond HilL" There her father had a lodge. 
She could not withstand the song, and returned his flame. 
This young lady was absolutely beautiful, but quite a slattern 
in her person. She likewise had a turn for versifsing, and was 
therefore altogether well adapted to her lame lover, particularly 

* Of Bargay Castle, County Wexford ; the same who was hanged in '98. 


barrington's personal sketches 

as she never could spare time from her poetry to wash her 
hands — a circumstance in which M'Nally was sympathetic. 
The father, however, notwithstanding all this, refused his 
consent ; and consequently M'JsTally took advantage of his 
dramatic knowledge, by adopting the precedent of Barnaby 
Brittle, and bribed a barber to lather old Janson's eyes as well 
as his chin, and with something rather sharper too than Windsor 
soap. Slipping out of the room whilst her father was getting 
rid of the lather and the smart, this Sappho, with her limping 
Phaon, escaped, and were united in the holy bands of matri- 
mony the same evening ; and she continued making, and 
M'N'ally correcting, verses, till it pleased God to call them 
away. This curious couple conducted themselves, both gene- 
rally and towards each other, extremely well after their union. 
Old Janson partly forgave them, and made some settlement 
upon their children. 

The ancient mode of duelling in Ireland was generally on 
horseback. The combatants were to gallop past each other at 
a distance marked out by posts which prevented a nearer 
approach. They were at liberty to fire at any time from the 
commencement to the end of their course ; but it must be at a 
hand-gallop. Their pistols were previously charged alike with a 
certain number of balls, slugs, or whatever was most convenient, 
as agreed upon. 

There had been, from time immemorial, a spot marked out 
on level ground near the Down of Clapook, Queen's County, on 
the estate of my granduncle. Sir John Byrne, which I have often 
visited as classic ground. It was beautifully situated near 
Stradbally, and here, according to tradition and legendary tales, 
the old captains and chieftains used to meet and decide their 
differences. Often did I walk it over, measuring its dimensions 
step by step. The bounds of it are still palpable, about sixty 
or seventy steps long, and about thirty or forty wide. Large 
stones remain on the spot where, I suppose, the posts originally 
stood to divide the combatants, which posts were about eight or 
nine yards asunder — the shortest distance from which they 



were to fire. The time of firing was voluntary, so as it occurred 
during their course, and, as before stated, in a hand-gallop. If 
the quarrel was not terminated in one course, the combatants 
proceeded to a second ; and if it was decided to go on after 
their pistols had been discharged, they then either finished with 
short broad-swords on horseback or vdtli small-swords on foot ; 
but the tradition ran, that when they fought with small-swords 
they always adjourned to the rock of Donamese, the ancient 
fortress of the O'^Ioores and the Princes of Offaly. This is the 
most beautiful of the inland ruins I have seen in Ireland. 

My gi-andfather. Colonel Jonah Barrington, of CuUenagh- 
more, had a great passion for telling stories as to duels and 
battles fought in his own neighbourhood. I remember many of 
his recitals, and, best of all, one of my grandftither's engage- 
ments, which came off about the year 1759. He and a Mr. 
Gilbert had an irreconcilable grudge, I believe for a very siUy 
cause. The relatives of both parties found it must inevitably 
end in a combat, whicli, were it postponed till the sons of each 
grew up, might be enlarged perhaps from an individual into a 
regular family engagement. It was therefore thought better 
that the business should be ended at once ; and it was decided 
that they shoidd fight on horseback on the green of Mary- 
borough ; that the ground should be one hundred yards of race 
and eight of distance ; the weapons of each, two holster pistols, 
a broad-bladed but not very long sword with basket-handle ; and 
a skeen or long broad-bladed dagger — the pistols to be charged 
with one baU and swan-drops. 

All due preliminaries being arranged, the country collected 
and placed as at a horse-race, and the ground kept free by the 
gamekeepers and huntsmen mounted, the combatants started, 
and galloped towards each other. Both fired before they reached 
the nearest spot, and missed. The second course was not so 
lucky. My grandfather received many of Gilbert's shot fuU in 
his face ; the swan-drops penetrated no deeper than his temple 
and cheek-bones ; the large bullet fortunately passed .him. The 
wounds not being dangerous, a fierce battle, hand to hand, 


bareington's personal sketches 

ensued. My grandfather got three cuts, which he used to ex- 
hibit with great glee ; one on the thick of the right arm, a 
second on his bridle-arm, and the third on the inside of the left 
hand. His hat, which he kept to the day of his death, was also 
sliced in several places ; but both had iron skull-caps under 
their hats, which probably saved their brains from remaining 
upon the green of Maryborough. 

Gilbert had received two pokes from my grandfather on his 
thigh and his side, but neither dangerous. I fancy he had the 
best of the battle, being as strong as, and less irritable than, my 
grandfather, who, I suspect, grew towards the last a little ticklish 
on the subject ; for he rushed headlong at Gilbert, and instead of 
striking at his person, thrust his broad-sword into the horse's 
body, until the beast dropped with his rider underneath him. 
My grandfather then leaped off his horse, threw away his sword, 
and putting his skeen, or broad dagger, to the throat of Gilbert, 
told him to ask his life or die, as he must do either one or the 
other in half-a-minute. Gilbert said he would ask his life only 
upon the terms that they should shake hands heartily and be 
for ever friends. These terms breathed intrepidity and a good 
heart. Both parties acquiesced in them ; and from that time 
they were the most attached and joyous companions of the 
county they resided in. 

My grandfather afterwards fought at Clapook a Mr. Fitz- 
gerald, who was badly shot. On this occasion, old Gilbert was 
my grandfather's second. I well remember having seen him ; as 
I do also the late chief-justice, then serjeant, Pattison, who had 
come down to CuUenaghmore to visit my grandfather, and, as I 
afterwards discovered, to cheat him. Gilbert brought me a great 
many sweet things ; and I heard that evening so many stories 
of fights at Clapook, and on the ridge of Maryborough, that I 
never forgot them. My memory seldom fails me in anything, 
and least of all in recitals such as the foregoing. 




In tlie year 1791, George Hartpole of Slirewl Castle, Queen's 
County, Ireland, had just come of age. He was the last sur- 
viving male of that name, Avhich belonged to a popular family, 
highly respectable and long established in the county. Few 
private gentlemen commenced life with better promise, and none 
better merited esteem and happiness. He was my relative by 
blood ; and though considerably younger, the most intimate and 
dearest friend I had. 

His father, Eobert, had married a sister of the late and 
present Earls of Aldborough, who became thereby the mother of 
George ; and in this connection originated my intercourse with 
that eccentric nobleman and his family. 

A singular fatality liad attended the Hartpole family from 
time immemorial. The fathers seldom survived the attainment 
of the age of twenty-three years by their elder sons, which cir- 
cumstance gave rise to numerous traditionary tales of sprites 
and warnings.* 

Eobert, as usual with the gentlemen of his day, was the 
dupe of agents, and the victim of indolence and the spirit of 
hospitality. He had deposited his consort in the tomb of her 
fathers, and had continued merrily enjoying the convivialities of 
the world (principally in the night-time) till his son George had 
passed his twenty-second year ; and then punctually made way 
for the succession, leaving George inheritor of a large territory, 

* The Hartpoles were the hardest livers in the county. This may not fully 
account for the phenomenon ; but the tendency of whisky and wine to accu- 
mulate its poison in successive generations has been fully recognised by medical 
men. The representatives of three or four generations of topers will never be 
found a sturdy race. 


baerington's personal sketches 

a moderate income, a tattered mansion, an embarrassed rent-roll, 
and a profound ignorance (without the consciousness of it) of 
business in all departments. 

George, though not at all handsome, had completely the 
mien and manners of a gentleman. He was mild, brave, gene- 
rous, and sincere ; yet on some occasions he was obstinate and 
peevish ; in his friendships, George Hartpole was immutable. 

He was of the middle height, and exhibited neither personal 
strength nor constitutional vigour ; his slender form and languid 
look indicated excitation without energy ; yet his spirits were 
moderately good, and the most careless observer might feel con- 
vinced that he had sprung from no ordinary parentage. 

Shrewl Castle, the hereditary residence of the Hartpoles, 
picturesquely seated on a verdant bank of the smooth and 
beautiful Barrow, had, during the revolutions of time, entirely 
lost the character of a fortress ; patched and pieced after all 
the numberless orders of village architecture, it had long re- 
signed the dignity of a castle without acquiring the comforts of 
a mansion ; yet its gradual descent, from the stronghold of 
powerful chieftains to the rude dwelling of an embarrassed 
gentleman, could be traced even by a superficial observer. Its 
half-levelled battlements, its solitary and decrepit tower, and its 
rough and dingy walls, giving it the appearance of a sort of 
habitable buttress, combined to portray the downfall of an 
ancient family. 

Close bounding the site of this ambiguous heritage was 
situate the ancient burial-place of the Hartpole family and its 
followers for ages. Scattered graves, some green — some russet 
— denoted the recency or remoteness of the different interments ; 
and a few broad flag-stones indented with defaced or illegible 
inscriptions, and covering the remains of the early masters of the 
domain, just uplifted their mouldering sides from amongst weeds 
and briars, and thus half disclosed the only objects which could 
render that cemetery interesting. 

One melancholy yew-tree, spreading wide its straggling 
branches over the tombs of its former lords and the nave of an 



ancient chapel, seemed* to await, in awful aiigiiry, the honour of 
expiring with the last scion of its hereditary chieftains. 

To me the view of this melancholy tree always communicated 
a low feverish sensation which I could not well account for. It 
is true, I ever disliked to contemplate the residence of the dead :"f* 
but that of the Hartpole race, bounding their hall of revelry, 
seemed to me a check upon all hilarity ; and I never could raise 
my spirits in any room, or sleep soundly in any chamber, which 
overlooked that sanctuary. 

The incidents which marked the life of the last owner of 
Shrewl Castle were singular and affecting, and on many points 
may tend to exhibit an instructive example. Nothing, in fact, 
is better calculated to influence the conduct of society, than the 
biography of those whose career has been conspicuously marked 
either by eminent virtues or peculiar events. The instance of 
George Hartpole may serve to prove, were proof wanting, that 
matrimony, as it is the most irrevocable, so is it the most precari- 
ous step in the life of mortals ; and that sensations of presentiment 
and foreboding (as I have abeady more than once maintained) 
are not always visionary. 

I was the most valued friend of this ill-fated young man. To 
me his whole heart was laid open ; nor was there one important 
circumstance of his life — one feeling of his mind — concealed from 
me. It is now many years since he paid his debt to nature ; 
and, by her course, I shall not much longer tarry to regret his 
departure ; but, whilst my pilgrimage continues, that regret cannot 
be extinguished. 

George had received but a moderate education, quite inade- 
quate to his rank and expectations ; and the country life of his 
careless father had afforded him too few conveniences for culti- 

* A word of most extensive use in subjective poetry. By means of its force 
and flexibility we can impart to the very stocks and stones intelligence, reflection, 
sympathy ; draw sweet discourse from speechless things ; and people unsocial 
vacuity with gentle spirits. 

f In a note of fourteen lines the author declares that for the last forty years, 
except once, he has not attended the funeral even of a friend, in consequence of 
the disagreeable sensations inspired by a graveyard. 


barkington's personal sketches 

vating his capacity. His near alliance, however, and intercourse 
with the Aldborough family, gave him considerable opportunities 
to counteract, in a better class of society, that tendency to rustic 
dissipation to which his situation had exposed him, and which, 
at first seductive, soon becomes habitual, and ruinous in every 
way to youthful morals. 

Whatever were the other eccentricities or failings of Eobert, 
Earl of Aldborough, the uncle of Hartpole, the hyperbolical ideas 
of importance and dignity which he had imbibed furnished him 
with a certain address and air of fashion which excluded rusticity 
from his society, and, combined with a little classic learning and 
modem belles-lettres, never failed to give him an ascendency 
over his ruder neighbours. 

The most remarkable act of his Lordship's life was an experi- 
ment regarding his sister. Lady Hannah Stratford. The borough 
of Baltinglass was in the patronage of the Stratford family ; and 
on that subject his brothers, John and Benjamin, never gave him 
a peaceable moment : they always opposed him, and generally 
succeeded. He was determined, however, to make a new kind 
of burgomaster or returning-ofiicer, whose adherence he might 
religiously depend on. He therefore took his sister Lady Hannah 
down to the corporation, and recommended her as a fit and pro- 
per returning- of&cer for the borough of Baltinglass ! Many 
highly approved of her Ladyship, by way of a change, and a 
double return ensued — a man acting for the brothers, and the 
lady for the nobleman. This created a great battle. The honour- 
able ladies all got into the thick of it : some of them were well 
trounced — others gave as good as they received : the affair made 
a great uproar in Dublin, and informations were moved for and 
granted against some of the ladies. However, the brothers, as 
was just, kept the borough, and his Lordship never could make 
any farther hand of it. 

The high-wsijs of Lord Aldborough, and the hy-wajs with 
which he intersected them, are well exhibited by an incident 
that occurred to him when the country was rather disturbed in 
1797. He proceeded in great state, with his carriage, outriders. 



etc., to visit tlie commanding officer of a regiment of cavalry 
which had just arrived in that part of the country. On entering 
the room, he immediately began by informing the officer that he 
was the Earl of Aldborough, of Belan Castle ; that he had the 
finest park and fish-ponds in that neighbourhood, and frequently 
did the military gentlemen the honour of inviting them to his 
dinners ; adding, with what he thought a dignified politeness, " I 
have come from my castle of Belan, where I have all the con- 
veniences and luxuries of life, for the especial purpose of saying. 
Major, that I am glad to see the mihtary in my coimty, and have 
made up my mind to give you, Major, my countenance and pro- 
tection." The Major, who happened to be rather a rough soldier 
and of a country not famed for the softness of its manners, could 
scarcely repress his indignation at his Lordship's arrogant polite- 
ness ; but when the last sentence was pronounced, he could re- 
strain himself no longer: — "Countenance and protection!" re- 
peated he contemptuously, two or three times ; " as for your 
jrrotectioti, [Mister my Lord, ^lajor ^ITherson is always able to 
protect himself ; and as for your countenance, by George I would 
not tah it for your earldom 1 " 

His Lordship withdrew, and the ^lajor related the incident 
as a singular piece of assurance. Islj Lord, however, knew the 
world too well to let the soldier's answer stick against himseK : 
next day he invited every officer of the regiment to dinner, and 
so civilly, that the Major lost all credit with his brother officers 
for his surly reply to so hospitable a nobleman ! Xay, it was 
even whispered amongst them at mess, that the Major had 
actually invented the story, to show off his own wit and inde- 
pendence ; and thus Lord Aldborough obtained complete revenge. 

On another occasion his Lordship got off better still : — being 
churchwarden of Baltinglass parish, he did not please the rector. 
Bob Carter, as to liis mode of accounting for the money in the 
poor-boxes. The peer treated Bob, who was as hard-going, good- 
hearted, de^-il-may-care a parson as any in Ireland, with the 
greatest contempt. The parson, who felt no sort of personal 
respect for my Lord, renewed his insinuations of his Lordship's 

VOL. I. X 


baerington's personal sketches 

false aritlinietic, until the latter, highly indignant, grew wroth, 
and would give Bob no further satisfaction on the matter : upon 
which the rector took the only revenge then in his power, by 
giving out a second charity sermon, inasmuch as the proceeds 
of the first had not been duly forthcoming. The hint went 
abroad, the church was crowded, and to the infinite amusement 
of the congregation, Bob put forth as his text — ''Whosoever 
givetli to the ;poor^ lendeth to the Lord!' The application was so 
clear, that the laugh was irresistible. Bob followed up his blow 
all through the sermon, and "the Lord" was considered to be 
completely blown ; but, skilfully enough, he contrived to give 
the matter a turn that disconcerted even Bob himself. After 
the sermon was concluded, his Lordship stood up, publicly 
thanked Bob for his most excellent text and charity sermon, and 
declared that he had no doubt the Lord Lieutenant or the bishop 
would very soon promote him, according to his extraordinary 
merits, which he was ready to vouch in common with the rest 
of the parishioners ; and finally begged of him to have the 
sermon printed ! 

Hartpole's fortune on the death of his father was not large ; 
but its increase would be great and certain. He purchased a 
commission in the army, and commenced his entre into a military 
life and general society with all the advantages of birth, pro- 
perty, and character. 

A cursory observation of the world must convince us of one 
painful and inexplicable truth — that there are some men, and 
frequently the best, who, even from their earliest youth, appear 
born to be the victims of undeviating misfortune. Ever dis- 
appointed in his most ardent hopes — his best attentions over- 
thrown — his purest motives calumniated and abused ; no rank or 
station suffices to shelter such an unfortunate. Ennui creeps upon 
his hopeless mind, communicates a listless languor to a sinking 
constitution, and at length he almost joyfully surrenders an exist- 
ence which he finds burdensome even perhaps at its outset.* 

* Here, in a note, Sir Jonah suspended a young lady's poem ' ' to illustrate the 
state of a person so chased by misery. " The reader will be fully satisfied with a 



Such nearly was the lot of the last of the Hartpoles. He 
had scarcely commenced a flattering entrance into public life, 
when one false and fatal step, to which he was led in the first 
place by a dreadful accident, and subsequently by his own 
benevolent disposition, worked on by the chicanery of others, 
laid the foundation of all his future miseries. 

^liilst quartered with his regiment at Galway in Ireland, 
his gun, on a shooting party, burst in his hand, which was so 
shattered that it was long before his surgeon could decide that 
amputation might be dispensed with. 

During the protracted period of his indisposition, he was 
confined to liis chamber at a small inn, such as Ireland then 
exhibited, and still exhibits, in provincial towns. The host, 
whose name was Sleven, had two daughters, both of whom 
assisted in the business. The elder. Honor, had long been cele- 
brated as a vulgar humourist, and the cleverest of all her con- 
temporaries ; and the bar, on circuits, frequented her father's 
house purposely to be amused by her witticisms. Her morals 
had all the advantages of coarse repulsive defences. She occa- 
sionally amused the judges also ; and Lord Yelverton, the chief 
baron, was Honor's greatest partisan. 

]Mary, the younger sister, was of a different appearance and 
character, rather well-looking, but not captivating. She was 

lambent touch of this sweet ; for the purpose of enjoying which the second stanza 
is presented : — 


Oft have I mark'd the heav'nly moon 

"Wandering her pathless way 
Along the midnight's purple noon, 

More fair— more loved than day : 
But soon she flung her shadowy wreath 

O'er dark eternity, 
As a faint smile on the cheek of death 

'Twixt hope and agony. 

What is fairer than the heavenly moon ? What more affecting than her 
wandering without a path ? Now muse on the tender hour of midnight's p^irple 
noon, as refreshing as a bunch of lady's-fingers. Then behold Miss Moon flinging 
her shadowy wreath o'er dark eternity, and say is not this note worth a sovereign ? 


barrington's personal sketches 

mild and unassuming. Thougli destitute of any kind of talent, 
slie yet appeared as if better born than Honor. 

Throughout George's painful and harassing confinement, the 
more than assiduous care of Mary Sleven could not escape the 
observation of the too sensitive convalescent. Hartpole has 
often described to me the rise and progress of the giddy, romantic 
feeling which then seized upon him ; how he used to catch her 
moistened eye watching his interrupted slumbers, or the progress 
of his recovery ; and when she was conscious of being perceived, 
'how the mantling blush would betray a degree of interest far 
beyond that of an ordinary attendant. 

He could not but perceive, indeed, that the girl actually loved 
him, and his vanity of course was alive to the disclosure. Her 
partiality flattered him in his seclusion, and led his thoughts 
gradually and imperceptibly into a channel inconsistent with 
the welfare of himself, the honour of his family, and the becom- 
ing pride of a gentleman. It was, after all, a sort of nondescript 
passion ; it certainly was not love. 

Meanwhile, the keen masculine understanding of Honor soon 
perceived the game Avhich it would be wise in her to play, and 
conceived a project whereby to wind u.p Hartpole' s feeling to the 
pitch she wanted, and insensibly to lead his gratitude to love, 
and his love to matrimony. This was Honor's aim, but she over- 
rated her own penetration, and deceived herself as to Hartpole's 
character : she overacted her part, and consequently weakened 
its effect. 

At length, awakened from his vision of romantic gratitude, 
and beginning to open his eyes to the views of the two women, my 
friend determined, by going over to England, to avoid all their 
machinations ; and he also determined that his departure should 
be abrupt. 

Honor, however, soon discovered the secret of his thoughts ; 
and guessing the extent of his resolution, impressed upon him 
the entire attachment of her pining sister, but at the same time 
communicated Mary's resolution to be seen by him no more — 
since it would be useless further to distract her devoted heart by 



cultivating society from which she must so soon be separated 
for ever. 

After a day and night of calm reflection, George conquered 
the dangers of his high-flown gratitude, and departed at daybreak 
from the inn without even desii'ing to see the love-lorn and se- 
cluded Mary. 

The sisters were thus totally disappointed. He had paid 
munificently for the trouble he had given them, written a letter 
of grateful thanks to Mary, left her a present, and set oft' to 
Dublin to take immediate shipping for England. 

In Dublin he stopped at the Marine Hotel, whence the packet 
was to sail at midnight, and the time of embarkation had nearly 
arrived when a loud shriek issued from an adjoining chamber to 
his, at the hotel Ever alive to any adventuie, Hartpole rushed 
into the room, and beheld — Mary Sleven ! She was, or affected 
to be, fainting, and was supported by the artful Honor, who himg 
over her, apparently regardless of all other objects, and bemoan- 
ing, in low accents, the miserable fate of her only sister. 

Bewildered both by the nature and suddenness of this ren- 
contre, Hartpole told me that for a moment he nearly lost his 
sight — nay, almost Ids reason ; but he soon saw through the 
scheme, and mustered up sufficient courage to withdraw without 
explanation. He had, in fact, advanced to the door, and was on 
the outside step, the boat being ready to receive him, when a 
second and more violent shriek was heard from the room he had 
just quitted, accompanied by exclamations of " She's gone ! she's 
gone!" Hartpole's presence of mind entirely forsook him ; he 
retraced his steps, and found Mary lying, as it shoidd seem, quite 
senseless, in the arms of Honor : his heart relented ; his evil 
genius profited by the advantage ; and he assisted to restore her. 
Gradually Mary's eyes opened ; she regarded George wildly but 
intently, and having caught his eye, closed hers again — a languid, 
and, as it were, an involimtary pressure of his hand, conveying 
to him her sensations. He spoke kindly to her ; she started at 
the sound, and renewed the pressure with increased force. As 
she slowly and gradually re\i.ved, the scene became more inter- 


barrington's personal sketches 

esting. A medical man, planted to be at hand, ordered her 
Madeira. She sipped, looked tenderly at Hartpole, who sipped 
and looked tenderly too. Exchange of this kind is no robbery. 
All that is given and received vastly fructifies on both sides. 
The doctor took his glass, and spurred on the occasion. Honor 
had her drain, and brightened up. Galen pledged George, and 
George cheerfully reciprocated. In short, it became a moist 

Thus did .an hour flit away, and, meanwhile, the packet had 
sailed. Another person affected also to have lost his passage 
whilst occupied about the patient, and this turned out to be a 
Catholic couple-heggar in shiny black ; some methodism in the 
cut of his hair, curling with festivity, but grizzling with years ; 
his eyes beaming with a quiet grey light ; and a decayed sanctity 
lingering in the furrows of his ruddy cheek. Some refreshment 
was ordered : the doctor and the priest were pressed to stay : 
the stuff was replenished, and the rapid hour unnoticed fled ! 
But the morning's sun rose to show the yoke of matrimony on 
the neck of George and his happy wife, Mrs. Mary Hartpole. 

Too soon the moments of reflection returned, when Hartpole's 
sensitive mind became the field of tumultuous emotions. He 
had lost himself ! he therefore yielded to his fate, abandoned all 
idea of further resistance, and was led back in chains by the tri- 
umphant sisters. 

His family and connections, however, never would receive 
his wife ; and George, for a while sunk and disgraced, without 
losing all his attachment for the girl, had lost all his tranquillity. 
After two years' struggle between his feelings for her and his 
aspirations after a more honourable station in society, the con- 
spiracy which had effected his ruin appeared in the most hideous 

The conflict now became still more keen within his breast : 
but, at length, his pride and resolution prevailed over his sensi- 
bility, and he determined (after providing amply for her) to take 
advantage of that statute which declares null and void all mar- 
riages solemnised by a popish priest. He made this determina- 



tion, but unfortunately he lingered as to its execution. Her 
influence meamvhile was not extinguished ; and she succeeded 
in inducing him to procrastinate from time to time the fatal re- 
solve. She could not, it is true, deny that he had been inveigled, 
and had made up her own mind, should he stand firm, to accept 
a liberal pro\'ision, and submit to a legal sentence, which indeed 
could not be resisted. 

The suit for a decree of nullity was commenced, but no 
effective proceedings were ever taken, nor any sentence in the 
cause pronounced, owing to events still more unfortunate to poor 

Prior to this fatal act of George's, I had never observed an 
attachment on his part towards any female, save a very tem- 
porary one to a young lady in his neighbourhood, the second 
daughter of ^Fr. Yates of Moon.* 

On his return from Scotland he immediately repaired to 
Clifton. Here fate threw in the way of this ill-fated youth 
another lure for his destruction, but such a one as might have 
entrapped even the most cautious and prudent. Love, in its 
genuine and rational shape, now assailed the breast of the ever- 
sensitive Hartpole, — and an attachment grew up fatal to his 
happiness, and, I think I may add, eventually to his life. 

At CHfton, my friend made the acquamtance of a family, in 
one of whose members were combined all the attractive qualities 
of youth, loveliness, and amiability, whilst their possessor at the 
same time moved in a sphere calculated to gratify the requisi- 
tions of a decent pride. Those who saw and knew the object of 
George's present attachment could feel no surprise at the 
existence of his passion. The unfortunate young man, however, 
sorely felt that his situation under these new circumstances was 

* As this lady acts the part of a mere dummy, I must cut my author down to 
save the reader. The digression had no application whatever ; and the paragraph 
above has been retained to prove my readiness to spare every readable sentence. 
I now give the sum of the whole passage. An old gentleman lived at ]\Ioon ; 
Miss Yates was his handsome daughter. Hartpole was her neighbour, and ad- 
mirer, but not her lover. Eomance, like bad poetry, is easily boiled down to a bad 


baerington's personal sketches 

even more dreadful than in the former connection. He wrote to 
me, expressing the full extent of his feelings — that is, as fully as 
pen could convey them. But imperfect indeed must be all 
words which attempt to describe intensity of feeling. It was 
from blots and scratches, and here and there the dried-up stain 
of a tear, rather than from words, that I gathered the excess of 
his mental agony. He required me to advise him — a task to 
the execution of which I was utterly incompetent. All I could 
properly advise him to, was what I knew he would not comply 
with — namely, to come over to Ireland, and endeavour to con- 
quer the influence of his passion, or at least to take no decisive 
step in divulging it till the law had pronounced its sentence on 
his existing connection. Such decree was not indeed necessary ; 
but to have it upon record was judged advisable. Though the 
incipient proceedings had been taken by his proctor, they were 
not completed, and Mary Sleven's marriage never was formally 
declared a nullity by the sentence of the Ecclesiastical Court, 
nor was she ever technically separated from the deluded Hart- 

Under all these circumstances I was bewildered as to what 
ought to be my friend's future conduct, when I was one morning 
greatly surprised by the sudden appearance of Hartpole at my 
breakfast-table, obviously in better health ; his eye sparkled, 
and there was an air of satisfaction diffused over his features 
which convinced me that some decisive step had been taken by 
him. He lost no time in telling me that he had proposed for 
Miss Otway to her father and mother ; that she herseK had con- 
sented ; that Mr. and Mrs. Otway had come over to have his 
fortune investigated, and wished to see me with as little delay 
as convenient. 

I could not but start on hearing all this, and declined enter- 
ing at aU into the business with Mr. Otway till George had 
given me a written license to communicate with him as I 
pleased. He acceded to all I desired, and the next morning I 
waited on that gentleman. 

I never felt more embarrassed in my life than at this inter- 



\'iew. I had in the interim made myself master of Mr. Otway's 
character, and the knowledge by no means contributed to ease 
my scruples or diminish my embarrassment. How^ever, to my 
astonishment, a very short time disposed of both, and in a way 
which I had conceived impossible. 

I found Colonel Cooke Otway a strong-minded, steady, 
peremptory, gentlemanly man, obviously with more head than 
heart, and with sufficient good sense to appear good-natured. 
He introduced me to ^Irs. Otway, whose character required no 
research. It was ordinary, but amiable. She had evidently 
great kindness of heart, and her conduct was uniformly re- 
ported to be such as left nothing to amend either as wife or 

Miss ^Maria Otway united in her appearance, her manners, 
and her obvious disposition, most of those amiable and engaging 
traits which the age of eighteen so frequently developes in a 
female. Her figure, in height rather below the middle stature, 
had just arrived at that proportionate fulness which forms the 
just medium between the round and slender, and without the 
defects of either gives the advantages of both. Her limbs, cast 
in the moidd of perfect s}Tnmetry, were moved with that ease 
and moderate activity which constitute the natural grace of 
female action. Her features small, and not strictly justifying 
the epithet beautiful, yet formed in their assemblage a blooming 
and expressive index of the young heart that ruled them ; and 
the disadvantage of a less prominent profile than should be was 
almost disregarded on account of the brilliant delicacy of her 
complexion. Her blue eyes were untutored ; but her smile was 
intoxicating, and my friend was bound in the trammels of female 
witchery, i* 

Over such a man as Hartpole the victory of Miss Otw^ay's 
beauty was complete, and the result of that unfortunate passion 
convinces me that a man, unless his judgment be superior to his 
sensibility, cannot commit an act of greater folly than to encou- 

* How this was so qiiickly discovered does not appear, 
t Harrington had a keen eye " in a fine frenzy rolling. ' ' 


barkington's personal sketches 

rage an attachment to any woman whom he thinks everybody 
else must admire as well as himself. * 

Mr. Otway at once opened the business, and told me Hart- 
pole had referred him to me for a statement of his estates and 
financial situation. On this point I had come fully prepared. 
Hartpole's circumstances exceeded rather than fell below Mr. 
Otway's expectation. 

" I am quite satisfied, my dear sir," said he to me, with a 
significant nod ; " you know that in Ireland we always make a 
small allowance for a Stratford connection." 

I now found my embarrassment recommence, but determined 
at every risk to free myself from all future responsibility or 
reproach. I therefore informed Colonel Otway explicitly of Hart- 
pole's marriage, and that no sentence had as yet been pro- 
nounced to declare that marriage a nullity, though in point of 
law it was so. 

Having heard me throughout with the greatest complacency, 
he took me by the hand. " My dear sir," said he, with a smile 
which at first surprised me, " I am happy to tell you that I was 
fully apprised before I came to Ireland of all the circumstances 
you have related to me, and do not consider them any impedi- 
ment to the present negotiation." 

The negotiation went on. Miss Sleven was no more re- 
garded ; and after a deal of discussion, but no difference of 
opinion, aU the terms were agreed upon, and the settlements 
prepared for a marriage, in all its results as unfortunate for the 
young people, and as culpaUe in the old, as any that ever came 
within my recollection. 

A circumstance of singular and not very auspicious nature 
occurred on the first step towards the completion of that ill- 
starred alliance. It was necessary to procure a license from the 
Prerogative Court for the solemnisation of the marriage in the 

* Discoursing on the subject alluded to here, but not at all thinking of Sir 
Jonah, the late Purcell O'Gorman, judge of the County Kilkenny, observed to me, 
" It is a false and cowardly maxim ; and if it prevailed, would be of infinite injury 
to the sex. They are all beautiful, you know — beautiful to distraction ! " 



city of Dublin, and Hartpole's imcle, the honourable Benjamin 
O'Neil Stratford, now Earl of Aldborough, attended with George 
upon Doctor Duigenan, then judge of the prerogative, for that 

The doctor, who when irritated was the most outrageous 
judge that ever presided in a civil law court, was on the bench 
officiating upon their arrival. Benjamin conceived that his rank 
and intimacy with the Doctor would have procured him at least 
common ci\Tlity, but in this he was egregiously mistaken. 

Benjamin O'Xeil Stratford, who attended his nephew on that 
dangerous expedition, was endowed witli several good-natured 
qualities ; but, as folks said, rather inclined to the pleasures of 
litigation. In every family which is not very popidar there is 
always one of whom people in general say, " Oh ! he is tli€ best of 
them;" and this was Benjamin's reputation in the Stratford 

* The noble Earl had then also the appellation of *' Blind Ben," which had 
been conferred on him by the witty Lady Aldborough, and which ought not to 
have been by any means considered derogatory, inasmuch as his name is cer- 
tainly Benjamin, and one of his eyes was actually out ; and as the abrupt mode 
of its quitting his Lordship's head was rather humorous, it may be amusing to 
mention it. 

He had once, as he thought, the honour of killing a crane. Benjamin's evil 
genius, however, maliciously scattered the shot, and the crane had only been what 
they call in Ireland kilt ; but feeling pretty sure that her death was determined 
on, she resolved to die heroically, and not unrevenged. She fell, and lying 
motionless, seduced her assassin to come and wring her head off, according to the 
usual rules and practices of humanity. The honourable sportsman approached 
triumphantly, and stooping to seize the spoUa opima, Madam Crane, having as 
good eyes of her own as the one that took aim at her, in return of his compliment, 
darted her long bill plump into the head of the Honourable Benjamin O'Neil 
Stratford, entering through the very same window which he had closed the 
shutters of to take his aim. She, in fact, turned the honourable gentleman's eye 
clean out of its natural residence ; and being thus fully gratified by extinguishing 
the light in one of her enemy's lanterns, she resigned her body to be plucked, 
stuffed, and roasted, in the usual manner, as was performed accordingly. Thus, 
though her slayer was writhing in agony, his family was fully revenged by feast- 
ing on his tormentor. Daily consultations were held to ascertain whether her long 
rapier had not actually penetrated the hrain of the honourable Benjamin. One of 
the tenants being heard to say, in a most untenant-like manner, that it might in 


barrington's personal sketches 

On their arrival in the presence of the doctor, who pretended 
never to know anybody in court, he asked " Who those people 
were ? " and on being informed, proceeded to inquire what 
business brought them there. 

The honourable Benjamin answered, " that he wanted a mar- 
riage-license for his nephew, George Hartpole of Shrewl Castle, 
Esq., and Miss Maria Otway, County Tipperary." 

He had scarcely pronounced the words when the doctor, 
rising with the utmost vehemence, roared out, "George Hart- 
pole ! George Hartpole 1 is that the rascal who has another wife 
living ?" 

George, struck motionless, shrank within himself ; but Ben- 
jamin, not being so easily frightened, said something equally 
warm, whereupon the doctor, without further ceremony, rushed 
at him, seized him by the collar, and cried, " Do you want me to 
countenance bigamy, you villains?" at the same time roaring to 
his crier and servants to " turn the fellows out ! " which order 
was virtually performed. 

The fact was, the suit of nullity had been actually com- 
menced in the Court, but not having been proceeded on, the 
judge only knew Hartpole as a married man upon record, and it 
certainly could not appear very correct of the honourable Benja- 
min to apply to the same judge who was to try the validity of 
the first marriage to grant his license for the solemnisation of a 
second whilst the first remained undecided. On Hartpole' s mind 
the circumstance made an indelible impression, and he never after- 
wards took any further proceedings in the cause then instituted. 

What was now to be done, since no license could be obtained 

such case be all for the best, was asked his reason for so undutiful an expression ; 
and replied, that if she had just pricked his honour's brain, may be it might have 
let out the humours therein, which would have done no harm either to his honour 
or to Baltinglass. — {Author's note.) 

This is a thundering note, and richly deserves to be retained, if only for the 
sake of a remark it drew from Captain Holmes — "Jonah's residence in Paris 
gi'eatly improved him ; he grew more Irish every day, and was liked the better for 
it. Count de la Vigne once called him, with enthusiasm, " the Apollo Belvedere 
of Hibernians." 



in Dublin ? A general consultation was held ; ]\Ir. Otway (still 
singularly to me) appeared to regard the circumstance as a mere 
hagatellc. I thought far otherwise ; and it was so deeply en- 
graven on Hartpole's mind, that he mentioned it to me not three 
days previously to his dissolution, as having foreboded all his 
subsequent misfortunes. 

It was at length agreed upon that he should be married in 
the diocese of Kildare, by a license from the bishop's surrogate 
there. This was in effect accomplished. I was not present at 
the ceremony ; after which the parties pursued their journey to 
Castle Otway, where, in the midst of everything that was desirable 
on earth, Hartpole commenced the trial of his new connection. 

Spite of these apparent advantages, however, my friend soon 
began either to find or conjure up new and dangerous sources of 
uneasiness. He continued some months at Castle Otway, listless 
and devoured hj ennui ; he pined for a change of scene, and 
longed to return to his hereditary domain. His health, too, 
steadily, although slowly, declined ; yet he took no medical 
advice : the remote symptoms of consumption began to exhibit 
themselves. But, amidst all this, he fancied for a while that he 
possessed everything he could wish for ; his wife daily improved 
in her person, lier manners were delightful, her conduct unex- 

Maria was adored by her parents. The thought of separating 
from them was to her almost unbearable. Her reluctance could 
not be concealed from the sharp eye of her uneasy husband. 
Every mark of affection lavished by her on her parents, he con- 
sidered as if filched from him. He thought her heart should have 
no room for any attachments but to himself, whereas it had been 
wholly pre-occupied by filial tenderness. In a word, she had 
never loved Hartpole, for whom she felt no other than a neutral 
species of attachment.* 

* This excessive, silly, apron-string love lias often caused misery midst all the 
elements of domestic bliss. How frequently has the current of conjugal love been 
disturbed and thwarted by a billet from liome ! If this little note have one suc- 
cessful embassy, let the Missus pray for Barrington. 


baerington's personal sketches 

At length it was agreed that they should come, on a visit, to 
my house in Dublin for some time, and that her mother should 
afterwards stay with her at Shrewl Castle, till Maria was gradu- 
ally reconciled to the dreaded change, and to iinal residence 
with a man who I believe she early discovered was not exactly 
calculated to make her happy. The story of Mary Sleven, I 
believe, she had not heard ; if she had, I am pretty sure she 
never would have left the protection of her father. 

When Hartpole arrived at my house, I soon perceived that 
my gloomy auguries had been too well grounded. I found his 
mind bewildered ; he received no enjoyment from reading ; his 
health did not permit strong exercise ; he took no pleasure in 
new and strange society, but, on the contrary, pined for his own 
home, his free associates, his steward, his tenants, his colliers, 
and above all, for a passive, fond companion, who should have no 
wish but her husband's. 

'Now, none of these things were to Maria's taste, and she 
yielded to the inroads of discontent, as I think, unreasonably : 
still, this feeling never showed itself with offensive prominence. 
She gave way to every desire expressed by her husband, but her 
acquiescence seemed to me like that of a victim. I have often 
noticed that, even whilst she intimated her obedience, her averted 
eye betrayed a rebel tear, and she only awaited the moment when 
it might gush out with safety, and relieve her. 

I perceived that, unless some step was taken to occupy 
George's mind, a residence at Shrewl Castle would surely pro- 
claim to the world both his folly and his ruin. I therefore 
applied to Mr. Pelham, then secretary in Ireland, to procure 
Hartpole promotion to the office of high-sheriff for Queen's 
County for the ensuing year, 1794. My application was im- 
mediately conceded. I also took out for him a commission of 
the peace. Meanwhile his old castle was in part newly furnished, 
and I was happy to see that he felt a sort of gratification in the 
appointment of sheriff ; and though in a state of health badly 
calculated to execute the duties of such an office, the occupation 
of his mind would, I hoped, make ample amends for his neces- 



sary personal exertions. If that year had passed favourably, it 
was my intention to have recommended a tour to some foreign 
country, where change of climate and of scene might tend to 
restore my friend's healtli, to amuse his mind, and perhaps to 
make a desirable alteration in the feelings both of himseK and 
his wife ; but Heaven decreed otherwise. 

TNTiilst on their ^isit at my house, I perceived in Hartpole's 
disposition, among other traits which so close a communion 
could scarcely fail to develop, one which I had never before 
suspected in liim — jealousy, the most terrible of human passions. 
His jealousy had no fixed object on which to fasten itseK, but 
wandered from person to person. Indeed, it could have no rest- 
ing-place ; for Maria was blameless. But in the eye of my friend 
she had guilt — the guilt of being attractive ; and he conceived 
that everybody must love her as he did himself. 

Tins melancholy and morbid state of mind appeared to me 
likely to increase from residence in a metropolis, and I hastened 
his departure for Shrewl Castle, to take upon himself the office 
of high sherifl'. I did not go with them, for my mind misgave 
me : her mother met them there, and innocently completed the 
ruin of her children by a step, the consequences whereof shoidd 
ever be a warning to wives, to parents, and to husbands ! 

At Shrewl Mrs. Otway perceived George's ideal malady ; 
she was a silly woman who fancied she was 'wise, and thought 
she never could do wrong because she always intended to do 
right. She proposed to ^laria a most desperate remedy to cure 
her husband of his jealousy, though she did not reflect that it 
might probably be at the expense of his existence, and certainly 
of her daughter's duty. Tliey conspired together, and wrote two 
or three letters directed to Mrs. Haiirpole, without signature, but 
professing love and designating meetings. These they took 
measures to drop so as Hartpole might accidentally find some of 
them, and thus they thought in the end to convince him of his 
folly, and laugh him out of his suspicions. 

The result may be easily anticipated by those who have 
read with attention the character of the husband. He became 


baerington's peesonal sketches 

outrageous ; tlie development did not pacify him ; and his par- 
oxysm was nearly fatal. Maria was in consequence but little 
better, and the unexpected result of her own injudicious conduct 
nearly distracted the unhappy mother. But it was too late to 
retrieve their error : the die was thrown ; Hartpole was inflexible ; 
and the first I heard of it was Maria's departure to her father's, 
and a final separation : — and thus, after a marriage of little more 
than eighteen months, that ill-starred young man, completely 
the sport of fortune, became once more solitary! Labouring 
under the false idea that he could soon conquer his attachment, 
he made Maria an ample separate maintenance, and determined 
to go to Lisbon, where he thought a change of scene might, 
perhaps, restore his peace, and the climate his shattered con- 

Before he sailed, I endeavoured in vain to reconcile them. 
She did not love him well enough to risk a further residence at 
Shrewl, in the absence of her connections ; and his mind was 
case-hardened against the whole family from which she sprang. 
His reasons to me for parting from her finally were at least 

"I acquit her at once," said he, "of ever having shown a 
symptom of impropriety, nay even of giddiness : there I was 
wrong, and I own it ; but she has proved herself perfectly capable 
of, and expert at, deception ; and the woman that has practised 
deception for my sake would be equally capable of practising it 
for her own. So far from curing my error, she has confirmed me 
in it ; and when confidence ceases separation ought to ensue." 

Hartpole shortly after embarked for Portugal, and only 
returned to terminate his short career by a lingering and painful 

On his arrival at Lisbon without any amendment either in 
mind or body, I felt, and I am sure he did himself, that the 
world was fast receding from him. The ruffianly manners of the 
person whom he had chosen as a led captain were little congenial 
to his own characteristic mildness. He had, however, a most 
faithful valet ; and after a few posts, I conceived, from his letters, 



that liis spirits had very much improved, when a circumstance 
occurred which, had he been in health, woidd have been merely 
ludicrous ; but which the shattered state of his nerves rendered 
him almost incapable of bearing, up against. 

On his marriage he liad given the commission he then held 
to Mr. Otway, his brother-in-law ; on his separation, however, 
he determined to resume the profession, and accordingly pur- 
chased a commission in a regiment of the line then raising by 
his uncle the late Lord Aldborough ; and he had been gazetted 
previously to his departure. 

After he had been a short time at Lisbon, some mischievous 
person, for some mischievous object, informed his uncle that he 
had been dead a fortnight ! and, without further inquiry, that 
nobleman resold George's commission, and an announcement 
appeared in tlie newspapers, that Hartpole had fallen a victim 
at Lisbon to consumption, adding the name of the party who 
had succeeded him in his regiment. 

His valet described to me coarsely the instantaneous effect 
of this circumstance on his master's mind. It seemed to pro- 
claim his fate by anticipation : — his commission was disposed of, 
under the idea that he was actually dead ; every melancholy 
reflection crowded upon him ; he totally relapsed ; and I firmly 
believe that paragraph was his death-blow. After lingering 
several months longer, he returned to England, and I received a 
letter requesting me to meet him without delay at Bristol, and 
stating that he had made his will. I immediately undertook 
the journey, and took him over a horse which I conceived 
adapted to him at that time. His sister was with him. His 
figure was emaciated to the last degree, and he was sinking 
rapidly into the grave. 

The patient had, however, declined but little in appetite, 
when the disorder suddenly fixed itself in his throat, and he 
ceased to have the power of eating ; he now entirely gave 
himself up as a person who must die of hunger. This melan- 
choly scene almost distracted me, and produced a most unpleasant 
affection of the head. The doctor gave us little consolation ; 

VOL. I. Y 


barrington's personal sketches 

and Hartpole himself, thougli reduced to such a state, was really 
the most cheerful of the party, evincing a degree of resignation 
at once heroic and touching. His will had been prepared by 
Mr. Lemans of Bristol, and executed whilst I was in Ireland ; he 
informed us all that I was joint executor with two of his uncles. 

On the morning of Hartpole's death he sent for me to rise 
and come to him. I found him in an agony of hunger — per- 
spiration in large drops rolling down his face. He said, neither 
food nor liquid could descend into his stomach ; that his ribs 
had contracted inwards, as if convulsively drawn together ; and 
that he was in great pain. I cannot describe my emotion 1 He 
walked about his room and spoke to me earnestly on many 
subjects, on some of which I have been, and ever shall be, totally 
silent. At length he called me to the window : — " Barrington," 
said he, "you see at a distance a very green field?" "Yes," I 
repKed. " Well," continued George, " it is my dying request 
that I may be buried there to-morroiv evening'' 

He spoke so calmly and strongly, that I felt much surprised. 
He observed this, and said, " It is true : I am in the agonies of 
death.'' I now called in the doctor and Hartpole's servant. 
The invalid sat down upon the bed ; and when he took me by 
the hand, I shuddered, for it was burning hot, whilst every nerve 
and sinew seemed to be in spasmodic action. I never had been 
in collision with a dying person before ; he pressed my hand 
with great fervour, and nmrmured, " My friend !" — these were the 
last words I heard him utter. I looked in his face ; his eyes 
were glazed, his lips quivered, he laid his head on the pillow, 
and expired. 

I disobeyed Hartpole's injunctions respecting his funeral ; 
for I had his body enclosed in a leaden coffin, and sent to be 
interred at Shrewl Castle, in the cemetery of his ancestors. 

On the reading of the will, his first bequest appeared to be 
to — " his friend Barrington, six thousand pounds," together with 
the reversion of his landed estates and collieries, on the death of 
his sisters without children. One had been some time married 
and had none, the other was unmarried, but soon after made a 



matcli with a gentleman of considerable property, but whom I 
should tliink few young ladies of fortune would have fancied. 

The uncles would not act as executors, considered me as an 
interloper, and commenced a suit to annul the will, as prepared 
under undue influence. Fortunately for my reputation, I had 
never known the persons avIio prepared it, was in another king- 
dom at the time, and had not seen Hartpole for many months 
before its execution. His sister was with him, not I. 

I got a decree without delay. The family of Stratford, who 
preferred law to all other species of pastime, appealed. My 
decree was confirmed, and they were burdened with the whole 
costs ; and, in eftect, paid me six thousand pounds on an amicable 
arrangement. My reversion yielded me nothing ; for I fancy the 
sisters have since had nearly twenty children between them to 
inherit it. 

Thus ended Hartpole' s life, and thus a most respectable family 
became extinct. I neither looked to nor expected any legacy 
from my friend, beyond a mourning-ring. He left numerous 
other bequests, including a considerable one to Mary Sleven, 
whose fate I never heard 

The sequel of jNIaria Otway's history was not much less 
melancholy than that of her unhappy partner, as she died pre- 
maturely, by the most affecting of all deaths — in cliildbhth. I 
saw her after the separation, but never after George's decease. 

Maria, I think, never had been attached to Hartpole, and, 
within two years after his decease, she made another and a most 
unexceptionable match — namely, with Mr. Prittie, the present 
member for Tipperary. But Providence seemed to pursue fatally 
even the relict of my friend, and, at the age of twenty-three, 
death cut off the survivor of that union which an unconcerned 
spectator would have deemed so auspicious. 

I have been diffuse on the memoirs of Hartpole, who was 
sponsor to my only son. I felt myseK interested in almost every 
material event of his career. To overlook our friendship, indeed, 
and his liberality, would have been ungrateful in any memoir of 


bareington's personal sketches 

Before I quit these " fond records/' and the associations which 
they excite, I am tempted once more to revert to the peculiarities 
of the Stratford family, which indeed present an ample field for 
anecdote. More curious or dissimilar characters never surely 
bore the same name ! 

Earl Eobert, one of those who declared war against me on 
Hartpole's death, was surnamed " The Peer of a Hundred Wills ; " 
and it is matter of fact, that upon a trial at law in County 
Wicklow, since his Lordship's death, fifty different wills were 
produced, together with a great number of affidavits, etc., also 
signed by the Earl. Several of these documents are of the most 
singular description, highly illustrative of the Earl's character, 
and, I should think, amongst the most extraordinary papers exist- 
ing in the Prerogative Court. 

It was a general rule with this peer to make a will or codicil 
in favour of any person with whom he was desirous of carrying 
a point, taking especial care that the party should be made 
acquainted with his proceeding. No sooner, however, was his 
end accomplished, and other game started, than a fresh instru- 
ment annulled all the provisions of the preceding one. Thus, 
if desirous of obtaining a lady's regards, he made a will in her 
favour, and let her find it hy accident ! He at length got £50,000 
with a granddaughter of the Duke of Chandos. 

In the cause before mentioned I was retained by the late 
Earl John to argue that his brother was mad, and Mr. Plunket 
was employed as my opponent. In support of our position it 
was that the fifty wills were produced ; and I hesitate not to 
say that either of them, had it emanated from any other indi- 
vidual than his lordship, would have been deemed conclusive. 
But the jury had known the party whose vagaries they were 
summoned to decide upon ; and therefore found, as usual, in 
favour of his lordship's last will. I subsequently asked one of 
those gentlemen the grounds of their verdict ; and his answer 
was — " We all knew well that the testator was more ***** 
than fool. Did you ever hear of anybody taking him inV 
And the truth is, the jury were right ; for I never met with a 



man who had more worldly sense and tact than Eobert, Earl of 
Aldborough, and, owing to my close connection with liis nephew, 
Hartpole, I had abundant opportunities of judging. 

The present Countess Dowager of Aldborough was in the 
habit of uttering jeux d'esprit with more spirit and grace than 
any woman in the world. She often cut deeply ; but so keen 
and polished was the edge of her wit, that the patient was never 

The cause of her naming the Honourable and Eeverend 
Paul Stratford, her brother-in-law, " Holy Paul," was droll 
enough. Mount Neil, a remarkably fine old country house, 
furnished in the ancient style, was that ecclesiastic's family 
mansion, wherein he resided many years, but of winch it was 
thought he at last grew tii*ed. One windy night this house, 
some time after it liad been insured to a large amount, most 
perversely and mu-aculously took fire. No water w^as to be had ; 
the flames raged ; the tenants bustled, jostled, and tumbled over 
each other in a general uproar and zeal to save his reverence's 
great house — his reverence alone, meek and resigned, beheld 
the voracious element devour liis hereditary property, piously 
attributing the evil solely to the just will of Providence as a 
punishment for his having vexed his mother some years before 
her death ! Under this impression, the Hon. and Pev. Paul 
adopted the only rational and pious means of extinguishing the 
conflagration : he fell on liis knees in front of the blazing man- 
sion, and, with clasped and uplifted hands, besought the Lord 
to show him mercy and extinguish the flames. The people 
around exerted themselves, whilst practicable, to bring out the 
furniture piecemeal, and range it on the grass-plat. Paul no 
sooner perceived the result of their exertions than, still on his 
knees, he cried out — " Stop, stop ! throw all my valuables back 
into the flames ! never fly, my friends, in the face of heaven ! 
when the Almighty resolved to burn my house He most cer- 
tainly intended to destroy the furniture. I feel resigned. The 
Lord's will be done !" 

The tenants reluctantly obeyed his orders ; but unfortu- 


bakeington's personal sketches 

nately for " Holy Paul/' the insurance company, when applied 
to for payment of his losses, differed altogether from his 
reverence as to the dispensation of Providence, and absolutely 
refused to pay any part of the damage incurred. 

So much disrepute did the Hon. and Eev. Paul get into 
by this occurrence, that people were not prone to employ him 
on clerical functions, and his nephew himself peremptorily 
declined being married by him. In fact, the stain of Holy 
Paul's character was inordinate love of money. He had very 
good property, but was totally averse to paying away anything. 
He was put into prison by his niece's husband, where he long 
remained rather than render a due account ; and when at length 
he did so, he refused to pay a few pounds fees, and continued 
voluntarily in confinement until his death. 




Theke were few persons whose history was connected with that 
of Ireland during my time, who excited my iaterest in a gi*eater 
degree than Mr. Hamilton Eowan. The dark points of this 
gentleman's character have been assiduously exhibited by persons 
who knew little or nothing of his life, and that too, long after he 
had ceased to be an obnoxious character. I ^^-ill endeavour to 
show the obverse of the medal ; and I claim the meed of perfect 
disinterestedness, which will, I think, be awarded, when I state 
that I never had the least social intercourse with Mr. Eowan, 
whose line of politics was always decidedly opposed to my 

Archibald Hamilton Eowan (I believe he stdl lives) is a 
gentleman of most respectable family and of ample fortune : con- 
sidered merely as a private character, I fancy there are few who 
will not give him full credit for every quality which does honour 
to that station in society. As a pliilantliropist, he certainly 
carried his ideas even beyond reason, and to a degree of excess 
which I really think laid in his mind the foundation of all his 
enthusiastic proceedings, both in coromon life and in politics. 

The first interWew I had with this gentleman did not occupy 
more than a few minutes ; but it was of a most impressive 
nature, and though now eight-and-thirty years back, appears as 
fresh to my eye as if it took place yesterday — in truth, I believe 
it must be equally present to every iQdi\idual of the company 
who survives, and is not too old to remember anythiog. 

There is generally in every metropolis some temporary iaci- 
dent which serves as a common subject of conversation ; some- 
thing which nominalbj excites iaterest, but which in fact nobody 
cares a smcs about, though for the day it sells all the newspapers, 


bareington's personal sketches 

and gives employment to every tongue till some new occurrence 
happens to work up curiosity and change the topic. 

In 1788 a very young girl, of the name of Mary Neil, had 
been ill-treated by a person unknown, aided by a woman. The 
late Lord Carhampton was supposed to be the transgressor, but 
without any proof whatsoever of his Lordship's culpability. 
The humour of Hamilton Eowan, which had a sort of Quixotic 
tendency to resist all oppression and to redress every species of 
wrong, led him to take up the cause of Mary 'Neil with a zeal 
and enthusiastic perseverance which nobody but the knight of 
La Mancha could have exceeded. Day and night the ill-treat- 
ment of this girl was the subject of his thoughts, his actions, his 
dreams : he even went about preaching a kind of crusade in her 
favour, and succeeded in gaining a great many partisans among 
the citizens ; and in short, he eventually obtained a conviction 
of the woman as accessary to a crime, the perpetrator whereof 
remained undiscovered, and she accordingly received sentence of 
death. Still Mary Neil was not bettered by this conviction : she 
was utterly unprovided for, had suffered much, and seemed quite 
wretched. Yet there were not wanting persons who doubted 
her truth, decried her former character, and represented her 
story as that of an impostor : this not only hurt the feelings and 
philanthropy, but the pride of Hamilton Eowan ; and he vowed 
personal vengeance against all her calumniators, high and low. 

At this time about twenty young barristers, including myself, 
had formed a dinner club in Dublin : we had taken large apart- 
ments for the purpose ; and as we were not yet troubled with too 
much business, were in the habit of faring luxuriously every day, 
and taking a bottle of the best claret which could be obtained.* 

There never existed a more cheerful, nor half so cheap, a 
dinner club. One day, whilst dining with our usual hilarity, the 
servant informed us that a gentleman below stairs desired to be 

* One of us, Counsellor Townley Fitgate, afterwards chairman of Wicklow 
County, having a pleasure cutter of his own in the harbour of Dublin, used to 
send her to smuggle claret for us from the Isle of Man ; he made a friend of one 
of the tide-waiters, and we consequently had the very best wines on the cheapest 
possible terms. — {Author's note.) 



admitted for a moment. We considered it to be some brother- 
barrister who requested permission to join our party, and desired 
him to be shown up. AYhat was our surprise, however, on per- 
cei\dng the figure that presented itseK ! — a man, -^ho might have 
ser\^ed as model for a Hercules, his gigantic limbs conve} the 
idea of almost supernatural strength : his shoulders, arms, and 
broad chest, were the very emblems of muscular energy ; and his 
flat, rough countenance, overshadowed by enormous dark eye- 
brows, and deeply furrowed by strong lines of vigour and 
fortitude, completed one of the finest, yet most formidable figures 
I had ever beheld. He was very well dressed : close by his side 
stalked in a shaggy Newfoundland dog of corresponding magni- 
tude, with hau' a foot long, and who, if he should be voraciously 
inclined, seemed well able to devour a barrister or two without 
overcharging his stomach ; as he entered, indeed, he alternately 
looked at us and then up at his master, as if only awaiting the 
orders of the latter to commence the onslaught. His master held 
in his hand a large, yellow, knotted club, slung by a leathern 
thong round liis great wrist : he had also a long small-sword by 
his side. 

This apparition walked deliberately up to the table ; and 
having made his obeisance with seeming courtesy, a short pause 
ensued, during which he looked round on all the company with 
an aspect, if not stern, yet ill calculated to set oui' minds at ease 
either as to his or his dog's ulterior intentions. 

" Gentlemen ! " at length he said, in a tone and with an air 
at once so mild and courteous, nay so polished, as fairly to give 
the lie, as it were, to his gigantic and threatening figure : " Gen- 
tlemen 1 I have heard with very great regret that some members 
of this club have been so indiscreet as to calumniate the charac- 
ter of ^lary Xeil, which, from the part I have taken, I feel 
identified with my own : if any present hath done so, I doubt 
not he will now have the candour and courage to avow it. — Wlio 
avows it ? " The dog looked up at him again ; he returned the 
glance ; but contented himself, for the present, with patting the 
animal's head, and was silent : so were we. 


barrington's personal sketches 

The extreme surprise indeed with which our party was seized, 
bordering almost on consternation, rendered all consultation as to 
a reply out of the question ; and never did I see the old axiom 
that "what is everybody's business is nobody's business" more 
thoroughly exemplified. A few of the company whispered each 
his neighbour, and I perceived one or two steal a fruit-knife under 
the table-cloth, in case of extremities ; but no one made any 
reply. We were eighteen in number ; and as neither would or 
could answer for the others, it would require eighteen replies to 
satisfy the giant's single query ; and I fancy some of us could not 
have replied to his satisfaction, and stuck to the truth into the 

He repeated his demand, elevating his tone each time, thrice : 
''Does any gentleman avow it?" A faint buzz now circulated 
round the room, but there was no answer whatsover. Communi- 
cation was cut off, and there was a dead silence : at length our 
visitor said, with a loud voice, that he must suppose, if any gen- 
tleman had made any observations or assertions against Mary 
Neil's character he would have had the courage and spirit to avow 
it ; " therefore," continued he, " I shall take it for granted that 
my information was erroneous ; and, in that point of view, I 
regret having alarmed your society." And, without another 
word he bowed three times very low, and retired backwards to- 
ward the door, his dog also backing out with equal politeness, 
where, with a salaam doubly ceremonious, Mr. Eowan ended this 
extraordinary interview. On the first of his departing bows, by 
a simultaneous impulse, we all rose and returned his salute, al- 
most touching the table with our noses, but still in profound 
silence ; which hooing on both sides was repeated, as I have 
said, till he was fairly out of the room. Three or four of the 
company then ran hastily to the window to be sure that he 
and the dog were clear off into the street ; and no sooner had 
this satisfactory denouement been ascertained, than a general 
roar of laughter ensued, and we talked it over in a hundred 
difierent ways : the whole of our arguments, however, turned 
upon the question " which had behaved the politest upon the 



occasion?" but not one word was uttered as to wliicli had be- 
haved the stoutest * 

This spirit of false chivalry, which took such entke possession 
of Hamilton Eowan's understanding, was soon diverted into the 
channels of political theory ; and from the discussion of general 
politics he advanced to the contemplation of sedition. His 
career in this respect was short : — he was tried and convicted of 
circulating a factious paper, and sentenced to a hea\y fine and a 
long imprisonment, during which political charges of a much 
more serious nature were arrayed against him. He fortimately 
escaped from prison to the house of ^Ir. Evans of Portrane, near 
Dublin, and got off in a fishing-boat to France, where, after 
numerous dangers, he at length arrived safely. Eowan subse- 
quently resided some years in America, in which country he had 
leisure for reflection, and saw plainly the folly and mischief of 
his former conduct. The government found that his contrition 
was sincere ; he eventually received His Majesty's free pardon ; 
and I have since seen him and his family at the Castle drawing- 
rooms in dresses singularly splendid, where they were well re- 
ceived by the Viceroy and by many of the nobility and gentry : 
and people should consider that His Majesty's free pardon for 
political offences is always meant to wipe away every injurious 
feeling from his subjects' recollection. -f* 

* The style of this description is almost faultless throughout. Here and there 
it is a little racy ; but ujwn the whole I cannot deny it the applause of true wit ; 
a commodity as hard of discernment as a cx)ck cgrj. 

t Archibald Hamilton, who assumed his mother's name, Eowan, was bom in 
1751. He died in 1834, and was placed in the vaults of St. Mary's Church, 
Dublin. He was educated at "Westminster school and at Cambridge. His youth 
was remarkable for an insatiable love of pranks, adventure, daring, and notoriety ; 
the last a passion of irrepressible exuberance in every village and every calling 
in Ireland. He was bom to a good fortune, and mixed well at his starting. 
Having become acquainted with Lord C. Montague, govemor of South Carolina, 
he went with him as his private secretary, and returned to Cambridge after an 
absence of three months. His expensive habits brought him into difficulties, from 
which his mother extricated him. When he occupied a house on Hounslow 
Heath, his coachman was the famous " sixteen -string Jack," who, it is said, 
clandestinely used his master's hunters in the charitable work of lightening the 
nocturnal travellers of their burthens on the dreary heath. In France he became 


barrington's personal sketches 

The mention of Mr. Eowan reminds me of an anecdote of a 
singular nature, extremely affecting, and which at the time was 
the subject of much conversation ; and as a connection was 
alleged to exist between him and the unfortunate gentleman to 
whom it relates, which connection had nearly proved fatal to 
Mr. Eowan, I consider this not an inappropriate place to allude 
to the circumstance. 

acquainted with the unfortunate George Robert Fitzgerald, to whom he acted second 
in the ferocious duel with Mr. Boggs. In his thirtieth year he married Miss Dawson 
of Carrickmacross, a young lady that does not appear to have imposed much re- 
straint upon his Quixotic temperament. After the purchase of Rathe offey, in the 
County Kildare, in 1784, he removed to Dublin, where the business of Mary Neil 
soon blew him into publicity. Not long after he joined his father's company of 
volunteers at Killyleagh, and was elected delegate for the County Down. For an 
inflammatory paper, attributed to him and Tandy, and circulated in 1794 among 
the volunteers, he was visited with an ex-offlcio by the attorney -general. After 
much delay he was brought to trial, and defended by Curran in an exceedingly 
fine, glowing, but rather flaring speech, well calculated to produce an impression 
on the most exquisitely plastic material in the world, an Irish brain. But not- 
withstanding all the vehement and tumultuous eloquence, a verdict of guilty was 
brought in. Rowan was sentenced to £500 fine ; two years' imprisonment ; and 
heavy bail for seven years' good behaviour. "While in confinement Tone gave 
him a copy of his " Statement of the Situation of Ireland," of which Rowan made 
two transcripts. One of these he gave to the Rev. Mr. Jackson to be forwarded 
to France — a business which he intrusted to his false companion, Cockayne. This 
fellow was in Pitt's pay ; directed the parcel to Hamburg, from whence it found 
its way to the minister, and, as a matter of course, brought Jackson into his fatal 
trouble. Cockayne was brought before the privy council ; Jackson thrown into 
Newgate ; and Rowan so reasonably alarmed for his life, that he instantly took 
measures to secure his escape from prison. As soon as he got into locomotion he 
went to Mr. Sweetman's house at Baldoyle. This gentleman put him into a fish- 
ing wherry with two boatmen named Sheridan, and wished him a safe voyage to 
France. Connected with his flight some little romances are told, of no interest 
but to the tedium of a honeymoon or the houlimia of a novel-reader. 

To the daring credit of Clare and Castlereagh, who were thwarted by the Eng- 
lish Chancellor, they seconded the eff'orts of his noble wife to obtain a free pardon 
for Mr. Rowan, In answer to a manly petition to the king, written in July 1802, 
Rowan obtained permission to return to England ; and subsequently, through 
Castlereagh's interest, he was restored to his country, his family, and fortune. 
No man ever better deserved the royal clemency, his domestic felicity, or his 
country's confidence and esteem. He outlived his loving wife and brave sons. 
The eldest. Captain Gawin Rowan Hamilton, was a naval olRcer who had greatly 
distinguished himself. 



'Mi. Jackson, an English clergA^nan, who had come over to 
assist in organising a revohition in Ireland, had been arrested in 
that country, tried, and found guilty of high treason in corre- 
sponding with the enemy in France. I was in court when ^Ir. 
Jackson was brought up to receive sentence of death ; and I 
believe whoever was present must recollect it as one of the most 
touching and uncommon scenes which appeared during that 
eventful period. 

He was conducted into the usual place where prisoners stand 
to receive sentence. He was obviously much affected as he en- 
tered ; his limbs seemed to totter, and large drops of perspiration 
rolled down his face. He was supposed to fear death, and to be 
in great terror. The judge began the usual admonition before he 
pronounced sentence : the prisoner seemed to regard it but little, 
appearing abstracted by internal agony. Tliis was still attributed 
to apprehension : he covered his face, and seemed sinking : the 
judge paused — the crowd evinced surprise — and the sheriff, on 
examination, declared the prisoner was too ill to hear his sentence. 
Meanwhile, the ^vretched culprit continued to droop : and at 
length, his limbs giving way, he fell ! A visitation so unexampled 
created a great sensation in the court : a physician was immedi- 
ately summoned, but too late ; Jackson had eluded his denouncers, 
and was no more. 

It was discovered that, previous to his coming into Court, he 
had taken a large quantity of arsenic and aquafortis mixed in 
tea. Xo judgment, of course, was pronounced against him. He 
had a splendid funeral : and, to the astonishment of Dublin, 
it was attended by several members of parliament and barristers ! 
a Mr. Tigh, and counsellor Eichard Guinness, were amongst 

It is worthy of observation, that I was always on friendly, 
nay intimate terms, ^ith many leading persons of the two most 
hostile and intolerant political bodies that could possibly exist 
together in one country ; and in the midst of the most tumultu- 
ous and bloody scenes, I did not find that I had one enemy. 
It is singular, but true, that my attachment to the government. 


barrington's personal sketches 

and my activity in support of it, yet placed me in no danger 
from its inveterate enemies; and in several instances I was 
sought as mediator between the rebel and Lord Kilwarden, then 
attorney-general ; * of whom, now he is no more, it is but justice 
to say, that of all the law officers and official servants of the 
crown I ever had communication with, the most kind-hearted, 
clement, and honourable, was one whose manners and whose 
name conveyed a very different reputation. I know that he 
had been solicited to take some harsh measures as to the barris- 
ters who attended Jackson's funeral ; and though he might have 
been justified in doing so, he said, " that both the honour of his 
profession and the feelings of his own mind prevented him from 
giving publicity to, or stamping as a crime, what he was sure 
in its nature could only be inadvertency." 

* He was at that time Mr. Wolfe. An information ex officio had been filed 
y against a printer in Cork for a seditious newspaper : it turned out that the two 
counsellors Sheares were the real editors. They begged of me to mediate with the 
attorney-general. He had always a strong feeling for the honour and character 
of his profession, and forgave all parties on conditions which I all but vouched for, 
but to which they certainly did not adhere. — {A utlior's note. ) 

[Barrington is wrong ; no obligation was entered into, but a condition which 
never occurred ; and which I can't yet mention. This information I had from 
Cloncurry — somewhere about the suppression of the Blacquiere Papers. The late 
Captain Lewis of Prospect, Waterford, an old hero of Maida, whose son is now in 
the 65th, was quite aware that no bargain was entered into. It is very important 
that I should speak. Captain Coote of the Commissariat bore the message to Sir 
Jonah ; and I think no honourable man will blame me for defending Sheares. ] , 




Amongst my memorandums of singular incidents, I find one 
which even now affords me as much amusement as such a cir- 
cumstance can possibly admit of ; and as it is, at the same time, 
highly characteristic of the people amongst whom it occurred, in 
that ^'iew I relate it. A man decapitating himself hy mistake is 
indeed a hlunder of true Hibernian character. 

[It shames me to have to tell that this serious preface is 
illustrated by an outrageous caricature of Paddy. Here it is. 
A peasant going to mow, with his scythe over his shoulder, has 
his attention aiTested by a salmon which fancies that his tail is 
unseen because his head is stuck in the mud. " Ned, dear ! " 
cries his companion, "is it not a pity we haven't a spear?" 
Whereupon Ned seizes the handle of his scythe, and, in a sudden 
attempt at using it as a spear, cuts off his own head and his 
companion's ear. So much for Buckingham ! This, so like the 
adventurous experiments of Carleton, is followed by cottager's 
philosophic reflection, that it is mighty odd he is not hindered 
from eating oats, but kilt, shot, battered, and burnt, if he attempts 
to drink them. Will he not be a cruel rogue who will restore 
this chapter ?] 


barrington's personal sketches 


I FREQUENTLY had an opportunity of meeting at my father-in- 
law's, Mr. G-rogan's, where he often dined, a most worthy priest, 
Father O'Leary,* and have listened frequently with great zest to 
anecdotes which he used to tell with a quaint yet spirited humour 
quite unique. His manner, his air, his countenance, all bespoke 
wit, talent, and a good heart. I liked his company excessively, 
and have often regretted I did not cultivate his acquaintance 
more, or recollect his witticisms better. It was singular, but it 
was fact, that even before Father O'Leary opened his lips, a 
stranger would say, " That is an Irishman," and at the same time 
guess him to be a priest. 

One anecdote in particular I remember. Coming from St. 
Omer, he told us, he stopped a few days to visit a brother priest 
in the town of Boulogne Sur Mer. Here he heard of a great 
curiosity which all the people were running to see — a curious 
bear that some fishermen had taken at sea out of a wreck ; it had 
sense, and attempted to utter a sort of lingo which they called 
patois, but which nobody understood. 

O'Leary gave his six sous to see the wonder, which was shown 
at the port by candle-light, and was a very odd kind of animal, 
no doubt. The bear had been taught a hundred tricks, all to be 
performed at the keeper's word of command. It was late in the 
evening when O'Leary saw him, and the bear seemed sulky ; the 

* Born near Dunmanway, County Cork, in 1729 ; died in 1802 ; and buried in 
tlie churchyard of Old St. Pancras, London. He was educated at the College of 
St. Maloe's, and resided there for four-and-twenty years. He became a pensioner 
of Government ; but his pen does not appear to have been basely used. His life 
left no stain on his habit, while his genius was a credit to his profession. 1 have 
added this under the instruction of Mr. Fitzpatrick, in whose praise we cannot 
speak too much. He is the author of the Sham Squire. 



keeper, however, with a short spike at the end of a pole, made 
him move about briskly. He marked on sand what o'clock it 
was, with his paw, and distinguished the men and women in a 
very comical way ; in fact, our priest was quite diverted. The 
beast at length grew tired ; the keeper hit him with the pole ; 
he stirred a little, but continued quite sullen : his master coaxed 
him — no ! he would not work ! At length the brute of a keeper 
gave him two or three sharp pricks with the goad, when he roared 
out most tremendously, and rising on his hind legs, swore at his 
tormentor in very good native Irish. O'Leary waited no longer, 
but went immediately to the mayor, whom he informed that the 
blackguards of fishermen had sewed up a poor Irishman in a 
bearskin, and were showing liim for six sous ! This civic digni- 
tary, who had himself seen the bear, would not believe our friend : 
at last O'Leary prevailed on him to accompany him to the room. 
On their arrival the bear was still upon duty ; and O'Leary, 
stepping up to him, says, " Gand e tha liaum, Pat V (How do you 
do, Pat?) — Slangcr a manugouth" (Pretty well, thank'ee), says 
the bear. The people were surprised to hear how plainly he 
spoke ; but the mayor directly ordered him to be ripped up ; and, 
after some opposition and a good deal of difiiculty, Pat stepped 
forth, stark naked, out of the bearskin wherein he had been four- 
teen or fifteen days most cleverly stitched. The women made 
off, the men stood astonished, and the mayor ordered the 
keepers to be put in gaol unless they satisfied him ; but that was 
presently done. The bear afterwards told O'Leary that he was 
very well fed, and did not care much about the clothing, only 
they worked him too hard. The fishermen had found him at sea 
on a hencoop, which had saved him from going to the bottom 
with a ship wherein he had a little venture of dried cod from 
Dungarvon, and which was bound from Waterford to Bilboa. 
He could not speak a word of any language but Irish, and had 
never been at sea before. The fishermen had brought him in, 
fed him well, and endeavoured to repay themselves by showing 
him as a curiosity. 

O'Leary's mode of telling this story was quite admirable. I 

VOL. I. Z 


barrington's personal sketches 

never heard any anecdote (and I believe this one to have been 
true)* related with so mnch genuine drollery, which was en- 
hanced by his not changing a muscle himseK while every one of 
his hearers was in a paroxysm of laughter. 

Another anecdote he used to tell with incomparable dramatic 
humour. By-the-by, all his stories were in some way national ; 
and this gives me occasion to remark, that I think Ireland is at 
this moment nearly as little known on many parts of the Conti- 
nent as it seems to have been then. I have myself heard it more 
than once spoken of as an English town. 

At Nancy, where Father O'Leary was travelling, his native 
country happened to be mentioned, when one of the societe, a 
quiet French farmer of Burgundy, asked in an unassuming tone, 
" If Ireland stood encore V " Encore r said an astonished John 
Bull, a courier coming from Germany, " encore ! to be sure she 
does : we have her yet, I assure you. Monsieur." " Though 
neither very safe nor very sound," interposed an of&cer of the 
Irish brigade, who happened to be present, looking over signifi- 
cantly at O'Leary, and not very complacently at the courier. — 
" And pray. Monsieur," rejoined the John Bull to the Frenchman, 
"why encore V — "Pardon, Monsieur," replied the Frenchman, 
"I heard it had been worn out (fatigue) long ago by the great 
number of people that were living in it !" 

The fact is, the Frenchman had been told, and really under- 
stood, that Ireland was a large house where the English were 
wont to send their idle vagabonds, and from whence they were 

* Sir Jonah affects excessive facility of belief, and often credits his readers with 
a little too much of that attribute. O'Leary was capable of such stories as the 
above ; he saw an appetite for them, and fed it somewhat freely. His remains, 
by no means scanty, are droll and pleasant enough, but rarely witty in a strict 
sense. An excellent memoir of O'Leary and his vigorous writings, political and 
polemical, has been lately published by the Rev. Mr, Buckley of Cork, 

As to the specimen of wit that follows in the text, ''the less that's said about 
that the better !" as Father Front replied to Dick Ronayne, when asked how the 
subscription for "the peal of bells for his cathedral " was getting on. The cathe- 
dral was the little parish chapel of far-famed "Watergrasshill. The reference to this 
edifice piqued his reverence more than the sick-list, as he used to call it, of the 
Subscribers to the parish bell. 



drawn out again as they were wanted to fill the ranks of the 
army : — and (I speak from my own personal knowledge) in 
some interior parts of the Continent the existence of Ireland 
as a nation is totally unknown, or it is at best considered as 
about a match for Jersey, etc. On the sea-coasts they are better 
informed. This need not surprise us, when we have heard of a 
native of St. Helena, who never had been out of the island, who 
seriously asked an English officer " If there were many landing- 
places in England r'* 

* In an agreeable conversation with an English gentleman, whom I met while 
stopping at the Bath Hotel, I made the remark that it was the misfortune of Old 
Ireland to be still as little known as New Ireland by her big sister. **For ex- 
ample," said I triumphantly, "the editor of one of your newspapers, the other 
day, diverted the Shannon from Limerick and made it flow through Belfast." 
"That was great diversion for you all," he answered; "you ought to thank 

This section was concluded by the author with a sage pensee of Paddy on the 
tenacity of Lord Ventry's vital thread. — " I'm sure," cried the plebeian patrician, 
who devoutly wished for the solution of continuity, "I'm sure if God hadn't 
quite forgot his lordship, he would have taken him to himself many a day ago." 

This has been otherwise expressed: "If the devil wanted a real rogue, he'd 
have had Dick Bailey long since." And again — *' 'Tis high time for Mick Walsh 
to go home ; they're heaping up for him these forty years." In my youth I heard 
a dozen different developments of the idea, nearly all by demoniac agency. 


barrington's personal sketches 


I SHALL proceed to the little narrative thus copiously pre- 
faced.* The circumstances will, I think, be admitted as of an ex- 
traordinary nature : they were not connected with the workings 
of imagination ; depended not on the fancy of a single individual : 
the occurrence was, altogether, both in its character and in its 
possible application, far beyond the speculations of man. But 
let me endeavour to soften and prepare my mind for the strange 
recital by some more pleasing recollections connected with the 
principal subject of it. 

: * The preface alluded to is suppressed both for the author's sake and the 
reader's ; but some few passages are retained, both to justify the editor's discretion 
and to put a stumbling-block in the way of any dislionest attempt at a faithful 
reprint. It consists of vapid reflections on Dr. Johnson's style, Boswell's life, and 
the belief in ghosts. The following gems are fair specimens : — 

1. I feel my own fallibility poignantly when I avow that I condemn parts of 
his Lexicon. 2. The English language has been advancing in its own jog-trot 
way from the days of Bayley to those of Johnson. Words were then very 
intelligible, and women found no difficulty in pronouncing them. 3. The great 
lexicographer soon convinced the British people that they had been reading, writ- 
ing, and spouting in a starved, contracted tongue. 4. There are so many able 
and idle gentlemen with pens stuck behind their ears ready for action, etc. 5. I 
am certain that when I became a doctor of laws I did not feel my morals in the 
least improved by the diploma. 6. Faith, grounded on the phenomena of nature, 
is the true foundation of morality and religion (what a comical theology !). 7. No 
human demonstration can cope with that presented by the face of nature. 

As to the Ghost Theory, a few words may be profitably employed. The belief 
in ghosts is not superstitious, since it is Scriptural, as we know from the Old and 
the New Testament. It is not unphilosophical, since the existence of neither matter 
nor spirit is necessary to seeing, for seeing takes place in dreams apd in disease ; 
and so does hearing too. Although the possibility of ghosts, real existing ghosts, 
may be shown from Scripture, this is not the question I am considering now ; but 
the reasonableness of believing in them which depends on seeing them — a matter 
quite independent of their actual existence. The popular belief is based on the 
credit given to those who declared they had seen them. A question now arises — 



Immediately after the rebellion of 1798, the Countess Dowa- 
ger of Mayo discovered a man concealed under her bed, and was 
so terrified that she instantly fled from her country residence in 
the most beautiful part of County Wicklow : she departed for 
Dublin, whence she immediately sailed for England, and never 
after returned. Her Ladyship directed her agent, Mr. Davis, 
immediately to dispose of her residence, demesne, and every- 
tliing within the house and on the grounds, for whate\ er they 
might bring. All property in the disturbed districts being then 
of small comparative value, and there having been a battle fought 
at Mount Kennedy, near her house, a short time previous, I pur- 
chased the whole estate, as it stood, at a very moderate price, and 
on the ensuing day was put into possession of my new mansion. 
I found a house not large, but very neat and in good order, with 
a considerable quantity of furniture, some excellent wines, etc., 
and the lands in fidl produce. The demesne was not extensive, 

can a real ghost be actually seen ? "Why, if it were not a real ghost it could not 
be seen. The error of the wiseacres is, they confound a ghost— or what is as good 
as a ghost for all useful purposes — the capacity of seeing one ; the wiseacres, with 
the view of putting an end to what they call a superstition, confound the popular 
ghost with spirit, which, they say, cannot be seen with corporal eyes. The Divine 
Spirit, indeed, cannot, at least without a special manifestation, or under some veil. 
Of other spirits we cannot speak with any precision. We have no means of arriv- 
ing at any knowledge of it except by poking at whatever may be readily conjec- 
tured to resemble it in some way. For instance, there is light. So subtle is it 
that it flows unimpeded through that pane of hard glass, cased by two surfaces of 
great density, and almost as hard as diamond. In a jiffy the penetrating subtlety 
can be baflBed by smearing on a thin film of black paint. With all their velocity 
you can catch those rays ; and with all their intactibility you can bend them, by 
interposing your magnifying-glass, which will concentrate them all at a point into 
an invisible flame. Again, you can, with a bit of glass, and in spite of the nimble- 
ness and imponderableness of those rays, separate them into their constituent 
elements, and project them in definite files within the prismatic spectrum. Could 
not some one look after a lens or a prism to operate on spirit and reduce it to can- 
onical obedience ? Then there is electricity, which casts into the shade light itself, 
and all the powers of the air. There is a post-angel that flies through a thousand 
miles of metal in Jack Robinson's time. Here is a thing to which no form, colour, 
or conception has yet been given. There is nothing unreasonable or impious in 
supposing spirit has some relationship with those entities. Again, a fluid has been 
discovered, without the mediation of which the light of the sun would be utterly 


barrington's personal sketches 

but delightfully situated in a district which, I believe, for the 
union of rural beauties and mild uniformity of climate, few spots 
can excel 

I have already disclaimed all pretensions, as a writer, to the 
power of scenic description or imaginary landscape — though no 
person existing is more gratified than myself with the contem- 
plation of splendid scenery : in saying this, however, I do not 
mean that savage sublimity of landscape — that majestic assem- 
blage of stupendous mountain and roaring cataract — of colossal 
rocks and innumerable precipices — where nature appears to 
designate to the bear and the eagle, to the boar or chamois, 
those tracts which she originally created for their peculiar accom- 
modation : to the enthusiastic sketclier and the high-wrought 
tourist I yield an exclusive right to those interesting regions, 
which are far too sublime for my ordinary pencil. I own that I 
prefer that luxurious scenery where the art and industry of man 

inoperative. If this be not another step towards coming to an understanding with 
spirits and ghosts, why, it should make us always prepared to receive them with 
courage and composure. 

But I must resist the lures of dissertation, and shortly declare what we may 
fancy as possible, without being absurd or superstitious. An actual ghost must 
have an actual form ; therefore those born blind cannot see ghosts, so they need 
not be afraid. But others may, that is by ideal vision, or by the genuine appari- 
tion of spirit under the conditions of form. There is no absurdity in supposing 
that two or three spectra of the same individual, whether dead or alive, may be 
visible to persons in different places at the very same moment. This point seems 
to involve the question of ubiquity. I do not think it does ; for it does not, by 
any means amount to saying that the same thing, in a corporal sense, can be in 
two places at the same time. Finally, the possibility of a spiritual apparition is 
one thing ; the belief in the fact is quite another. The former is not inconsistent 
with our intelligence, nor rendered improbable by any wise saws or expostulation 
as to its folly and futility : the latter must ever depend on the circumstances con- 
nected with the fact, or what is related as such. There are on record a few nar- 
ratives of those so-called.supernatural appearances, which it is not easy to disbelieve. 

This little discussion on the Ghost Theory may make amends for the suppressed 
portions. The reader will not be displeased at finding it so slightly connected 
with the sequel ; the phenomenon in which I neither pretend to explain, nor to 
believe. I have known a thing to be vouched for by fifty people, which I knew 
not to have taken place, and which, physically or metaphysically, could not have 
taken place. 


go liaud in hand with the embellishments of Nature, and where 
Providence, smiling, combines her blessings with her beauties. 

Were I asked to exemplify my ideas of rural, animated, 
cheering landscape, I should say — " My friend, travel ! — visit 
that narrow region which we call the golden belt of Ireland, ; 
explore every league from the metropolis to the Meeting of the 
Waters : journey which way you please, you will find the native 
myrtle and indigenous arbutus, glowing throughout the severest 
winter, and forming the ordinary cottage-fence.'^ 

The scenery of Wicklow is doubtless on a very minor scale, 
quite unable to compete with the grandeur and immensity of 
continental landscape ; even to our own Killarney it is not 
comparable ; but it possesses a genial glowing luxury, whereof 
more elevated scenery is often destitute. It is, besides, in the 
world. Its beauties seem alive. It blooms — it blossoms — the 
mellow climate extracts from every shrub a tribute of fragrance 
wherewith the atmosphere is saturated, and through such a 
medium does the refreshing rain descend to briMiten the hues of 
the evergreens ! 

The site of my sylvan residence, Dunran, was nearly in the 
centre of the golden belt, about fifteen miles from the capital ; 
but owing to the varied nature of the country, it appeared far 
more distant. Bounded by the beautiful glen of the Downs, at 
the foot of the magnificent Bellevue, and the more distant Sugar- 
loaf mountain called the Dargle, together with Tinnehinch, less 
celebrated for its unrivalled scenery than as the residence of 
Ireland's first patriot,* the dark deep glen, the black lake, and 
mystic vale of Lugelaw, contrasted quite magically with the 
highly-cultivated beauties of Dunran. In fine, I found myself 
enveloped by the hundred beauties of that enchanting district, 
which, though of one family, were rendered yet more attractive 
by the variety of their features ; and had I not been tied to 
laborious duties, I should infallibly have sought refuge there 
altogether from the cares of the world. 

* Henry Grattan. It must be owned that Jonah's landscape pencil was not a 
very flowing one. 


barrington's personal sketches 

One of the greatest pleasures I enjoyed whilst resident at 
Dunrau, was the near abode of the late Lord Eossmore, at that 
time commander-in-chief in Ireland. His Lordship knew my 
father, and, from my commencement in public life, had been my 
friend, and a sincere one. He was a Scotsman born, but had 
come to Ireland when very young, as page to the Lord-Lieu- 
tenant. He had married an heiress ; had purchased the estate 
of Mount Kennedy ; built a noble mansion ; laid out some of 
the finest gardens in Ireland ; and, in fact, improved the 
demesne as far as taste, skill, and money could accomplish. 
He was what may be called a remarkably fine old man, quite 
the gentleman, and when at Mount Kennedy quite the country 
gentleman. He lived in a style few people can attain to. His 
table, supplied by his own farms, was fit for the Viceroy himself, 
yet was ever spread for his neighbours. In a word, no man ever 
kepDt a more even hand in society than Lord Eossmore, and no 
man was ever better repaid by universal esteem. Had his con- 
nections possessed his understanding, and practised his habits, 
they would probably have found more friends when they wanted 

This intimacy at Mount Kennedy gave rise to an occurrence 
the most extraordinary and inexplicable of my whole existence — 
an occurrence which for many years occupied my thoughts and 
wrought on my imagination. Lord Eossmore was advanced in 
years, but I never heard of his having had a single day's indis- 
position. He bore, in his green old age, the appearance of 
robust health. During the viceroyalty of Earl Hardwick, Lady 
Barrington, at a drawing-room at Dublin Castle, met Lord Eoss- 
more. He had been making up one of his weekly parties for 
Mount Kennedy, to commence the next day, and had sent down 
orders for every preparation to be made. The Lord-Lieutenant 
was to be of the company. 

" My little farmer," said he to Lady Barrington, addressing 
her by a pet name, " when you go home, tell Sir Jonah that no 
business is to prevent him from bringing you down to dine with 
me to-morrow. I will have no ifs in the matter — so tell him 



that come lie must!'' Slie promised positively, and on her 
return informed me of her engagement, to which I at once 
agreed AVe retired to our chamber about twelve ; and towards 
two in the morning I was awakened by a sound of a very 
extraordinary nature. I listened. It occurred first at short 
intervals ; it resembled neither a voice nor an instrument ; it 
was softer than any voice and wilder than any music, and 
seemed to float in the air. I don't know wherefore, but my heart 
beat forcibly. The sound became still more plaintive, till it 
almost died away in the air ; when a sudden change, as if 
excited by a pang, altered its tone. It seemed descending. I 
felt every nerve tremble. It was not a natural sound, nor could 
I make out the point from whence it came. 

At length I awakened Lady Barrington, who heard it as well 
as myself. She suggested that it might be an Eolian harp, but 
to that instrument it bore no similitude. It was altogether a 
different character of sound. My wife at first appeared less 
affected than I ; but subsequently she was more so. 

We now went to a large window in our bed-room, wliich 
looked directly upon a small garden underneath. The sound 
seemed then obviously to ascend from a grass-plot immediately 
below our window. It continued. Lady Barrington requested 
that I would call up her maid, which I did, and she was evidently 
more affected than either of us. The sounds lasted for more than 
half-an-hour. At last a deep, hea\y, throbbing sigh seemed to 
issue from the spot, and was shortly succeeded by a sharp but 
low cry, and by the distinct exclamation, thrice repeated, of 
" Eossmore — Eossmore — Eossmore ! " I will not attempt to 
describe my own feelings ; indeed I cannot. The maid fled in 
terror from the window, and it was wdth difficulty I prevailed on 
Lady Barrington to return to bed. In about a minute after the 
sound died gradually away, until all was silent. 

Lady Barrington, who is not so superstitious as I, attributed 
this circumstance to a hundred different causes, and made me 
promise that I would not mention it next day at Mount Ken- 
nedy, since we should be thereby rendered laughing-stocks. 


baerington's personal sketches 

At length, wearied with speculations, we fell into a sound 

About seven the next morning a strong rap at my chamber- 
door awakened me. The recollection of the past night's adven- 
ture rushed instantly upon my mind, and rendered me very 
unfit to be taken suddenly on any subject. It was light. I went 
to the door, when my faithful servant, Lawler, exclaimed, on the 
other side, Lord, sir ! " " What is the matter ? " said I 
hurriedly. Oh, sir ! " ejaculated he, Lord Kossmore's foot- 
man was running past the door in great haste, and told me in 
passing that my Lord, after coming from the Castle, had gone to 
bed in perfect health, but that about half after two this morning, 
his own man, hearing a noise in his master's bed (he slept in the 
same room), went to him, and found him in the agonies of 
death ; and before he could alarm the other servants, all was 
over ! " 

I conjecture nothing. I only relate the incident as un- 
equivocally matter of fact. Lord Eossmore was absolutely dying 
at the moment I heard his name pronounced. Let sceptics draw 
their own conclusions ; perhaps natural causes may be assigned ; 
but / am totally unequal to the task. 

Atheism may ridicule me ; orthodoxy may despise me ; 
bigotry may lecture me ; fanaticism might burn me ; yet in my 
very faith I would seek consolation. It is, in my mind, better 
to believe too much than too little ; and that is the only 
theological crime of which I can be fairly accused. 




It is remarkable that the state of the Irish people, in its 
various gradations of habit and society, has been best illustrated 
by two female authors — the one of more imaginative, the other 
of purer narrative, powers; but each in her respective line 
possessing very considerable merit. 

Though a fiction, not free from numerous inaccuracies, 
inappropriate dialogue, and forced incident, it is impossible to 
peruse the " Wild Irish Girl" of Lady Morgan without deep 
interest, or to dispute its claims as a production of true national 
feeling as w^ell as literary talent. 

That tale w^as the first and is perhaps the best of all her 
waitings. Compared w^ith her " Ida of Athens," it strikingly 
exhibits the author's falling off from the unsophisticated dictates 
of nature to the less refined conceptions induced by what she 
herself styles fashionable society. 

To persons unacquainted with Ireland, the Wild Irish 
Girl" may appear an ordinary tale of romance and fancy ; but 
to such as understand the ancient history of that people, it may 
be considered as a delightful legend. The authoress might 
perhaps have had somewhat in view the last descendant of the 
Irish princes, who did not altogether forget the station of his 

0' Sullivan, lineally descended from the princes of Beare, 
not many years since vegetated on a retired spot of his 
hereditary dominions ; and though overwhelmed by poverty 
and deprivation, kept up in his mind a visionary dignity. 
Surveying from his wretched cottage that enchanting terri- 
tory over which his ancestors had reigned for centuries, I 
have been told he never ceased to recollect his royal descent. 


barkington's personal sketches 

He was a man of gigantic stature and strength ; of uncouth, yet 
authoritative mien — not shaming his pretensions by his pre- 
sence. He was frequently visited by those who went to view 
Glengariff, and I have conversed with many w^ho have seen 
him ; but at a period when familiar intercourse has been 
introduced between actual princes and their subjects, tending 
undoubtedly to diminish in the latter the sense of "that 
divinity which doth hedge a king," the poor descendant of the 
renowned O'SuUivan had little reason to expect much commi- 
seration from modern sensibility. 

The frequent and strange revolutions of the world within 
the last forty years — the radical alterations in all the material 
habits of society — announced the commencement of a new era ; 
and the ascendency of commerce over rank, and of avarice over 
everything, completed the regeneration. But, above all, the 
loosening of those ties which bound kindred and families in one 
common interest to uphold their race and name ; the extinction 
of that spirit of chivalry which sustained those ties, and the 
common prostitution of the heraldic honours of antiquity, 
have steeled the human mind against the lofty and noble 
pretensions of birth and rank ; and whilst we superficially decry 
the principles of equality, we are travelling towards them by the 
shortest and most dangerous road that degeneracy and meanness 
can point out. 

I confess myself to be a determined enemy at once to 
political and social equality* — in the exercise of justice alone 
should the principle exist ; in any other sense it never did and 
never can for any length of time. 

Miss Edge worth's " Castle Eackrent" and " Fashionable 
Tales" are incomparable in depicting truly several, traits of the 
rather modern Irish character. They are perhaps on one point 

* This seems to be a strongly-expressed sentiment ; but the meaning is — 
nothing. Social equality never existed, and I believe was never looked for but 
once by those fraternal citoyens who saw it only in the operations of the 
guillotine. Political equality has not yet been very clearly defined ; but in a 
moderate sense it has been advocated by very decided Conservatives. I am 
persuaded that Harrington's mind is not exactly portrayed in this place. 



somewhat overcliarged ; but, for the most part, may be said to 
exceed Lady Morgan's Irish novels. The fiction is less per- 
ceptible in them. They have a greater air of reality — of what 
I have myself often and often observed and noted in full 
progress and actual execution throughout my native country. 
The landlord, the agent, and the attorney of " Castle Eackrent" 
are neither fictitious nor even imcommon characters. And the 
changes of landed property in the county where I was born, 
owed, in nine cases out of ten, their origin, progress, and cata- 
strophe to incidents in nowise differing from those so accurately 
painted in Miss Edgeworth's narrative. 

Though moderate fortunes have frequently and foirly been 
realised by agents ; yet, to be on the sure side of comfort and 
security, a country gentleman who wishes to send down his 
estate in tolerably good order to his family should always be 
his o^^^l receiver, and compromise any claim rather than employ 
an attorney to arrange it. 

I recollect to have seen in Queen's County a Mr. Clerk, who 
had been a working carpenter, and when making a bench for 
the session justices at the court-house, was laughed at for taking 
peculiar pains in planing and smoothing the seat of it. He 
smilingly observed that he did so to make it easy for himself, 
as he was resolved he would never die till he had a right to sit 
thereupon. And he kept his word. He was an industrious 
man, and became an agent. Honest, respectable, and kind- 
hearted, he succeeded in all his efforts to accumulate an inde- 
pendence. He did accumulate it, and uprightly. His character 
kept pace with the increase of his property, and he lived to sit 
as a magistrate on that very bench that he sawed and planed. 

I will not quit the subject without saying a word about 
another of Lady Morgan's works — " Florence Macarthy," which, 
"errors excepted," possesses an immensity of talent in the 
delineation of the genuine Irish character. Tlie different judges 
no one can mistake ; but the Crawley s are superlative, and 
suffice to bring before my vision, in their full colouring, and 
almost without a variation, persons and incidents whom and 


bareington's personal sketches 

which I have many a time encountered. Nothing is exaggerated 
as to them ; and Crawley himself is the perfect and plain model 
of the combined agent, attorney, and magistrate. Ko people 
under heaven could be so easily tranquillised and governed as 
the Irish ; but that desirable end is alone attainable by the per- 
sonal endeavours of a liberal, humane, and resident aristocracy. 

A third writer on Ireland I allude to with more pride on 
some points, and with less pleasure on others ; because, though 
dubbed, far excellence, " The bard of Ireland," I have not yet 
seen many literary productions of his, especially on national sub- 
jects, that have afforded me an unalloyed feeling of gratification. 

He must not be displeased with the observations of perhaps 
a truer friend than those who have led him to forget himself. 
His Captain Eock," coming at the time it did and under the 
sanction of his name, is the most exceptionable publication,* in 
all its bearings as to Ireland, that I have yet seen. Doctor 
Beattie says, in his Apology for Religion, " if it does no good, it 
can do no harm but, on the contrary, if Captain Eock'' does 
no harm, it certainly does no good. 

Had it been addressed to, or calculated for, the better orders, 
the book would have been less noxious : but it is not calculated 
to instruct those whose influence, example, or residence could 
either amend or reform the abuses which the author certainly 
exaggerates. It is not calculated to remedy the great and true 
cause of Irish ruin — the absenteeism of the great landed pro- 
prietors : so much the reverse, it is directly adapted to increase 
and confirm the real grievance, by scaring every landlord who 
retains a sense of personal danger from returning to a country 
where " Captain Eock" is proclaimed by the "Bard of Ireland'* 
to be an immortal Sovereign.'^ 

* Tt is a fine mixture of gaiety and good sense, an excellent model of pure 
English, and of easy, yet nervous, style. Sir Jonah was an indifferent critic in prose 
and verse. Of the latter more ridiculous specimens could not easily be given than 
those which incommoded the previous editions of his Personal Sketches, and which, 
consequently have been unhesitatingly excluded from this, 

t I much doubt whether Captain Eock was understood by our author, or read 
by him at all, except, perhaps, partially. The letters of Eock first appeared in a 



Perhaps I write warmly myself ; I write not, however, for 
distracted cottagers, but for proprietors and legislators ; and I 
have endeavoured honestly to express my unalterable conviction 
that it is by encouraging, conciliating, re-attachiiig, and recalling 
the higher, and not by confusing and inflaming the lower orders 
of society, that Ireland can be renovated. 

^lost undoubtedly !Mr. Thomas Moore and Lady Morgan are 
among the most distinguished modern writers of our country : 
indeed, I know of none, except Miss Edgeworth, who has a 
right to compete with either, in his or her respective depart- 

But I can never repeat too often that I am not a critic, 
although I choose to speak my niind strongly and freely. I 
hope neither my friend Moore nor her Ladyship will be dis- 
pleased at my stating thus candidly my opinion of their pnhlic 
characters : they would perhaps scout me as an adulator were I 
to tell them what I thought of their pi-ivate ones. 

In concluding my rambling estimate * of the merits of these 
two justly celebrated authors, let me bear in mind that they are 
of different sexes, and recollect the peculiar attributes of either. 

Both of them are alike unsparing in their use of the bold 
language of liberty ; but Lady Morgan has improved her ideas 
of freedom by contrasts on the European continent ; whilst 
Thomas Moore has not improved his by the exemplification of 
freedom in America. Lady Morgan has succeeded in adulterat- 
ing her refinement ; Thomas Moore has unsuccessfully en- 
deavoured to refine his grossness : she has abundant talent ; he 

twopenny serial, published in London in IS 26, as well as I can remember. It had 
a wide circulation in Munster, and its influence was emollient instead of irritating. 
The "Rockites " or " "Whiteboys" were set agoing by that inextinguishable fire- 
brand who robbed the Galway mail in 1812 — Eoger O'Connor, who baptized his 
tools from the initials of his name R. 0. C. The serious reference to the Immortal 
Sovereign is stupidly founded on a bit of Moore's harmless jocularity. It is hard 
to account for Jonah's splenetic disposition towards the author of the Melodies. 
Ferguis, the ill-starred chartist, was son of Roger. 

* I rely on the reader's good sense and taste for my meed of approbation in 
having curbed Sir Jonah's useless rambles, with a view of enhancing his interest- 
ing ones. 


bakeington's personal sketches 

has abundant genius; and whatsoever distinction those terms 
admit of indicates, in my mind, their relative merit * 

* This contrast of the merits of Lady Morgan and Moore is a perfect freak of 
nature. Between them there was nothing in common, except that they -were both 
authors. We may as well compare the bow of a fiddle and the beau of a drawing- 

To retrace the paragraph, Moore made no attempt to refine his grossness ; he 
relinquished it altogether, I am utterly ignorant of what is meant by the adultera- 
tion of Lady Morgan's refinement, or what her refinement consisted of or in. A 
thick fog envelopes "the improvement of the ideas of freedom but we can 
make a guess at it. Much in the same way we come to understand the exemplifi- 
cation of freedom in America, and how little Moore was improved by it. If Sir 
Jonah alludes to the "Epistle to Lord Viscount Forbes from Washington," he is 
quite intelligible, and should have accompanied the allusion with a tone of satis- 

That Moore's earliest political impressions bore strong traces of a republican or 
democratic stamp is undeniable, but how far those impressions were modified by 
his visit to America is not fully discernible in that excellent poem. He complains 
only of the practical errors observed by him in the government of America ; of 
such errors, too, as are the general attendants and most conspicuous plagues of 
monarchy ; and, consequently, instead of concluding that his ideas of freedom 
were not improved, we should rather think that his opinions underwent some wise 
modifications. Perhaps it was in America he found out for the first time that 
democracy and aristocracy, as pure abstract principles, are both essentially wrong. 
Or perhaps his notions may have only ripened in America ; ripened into the con- 
viction — let the people govern themselves, and there will soon be an end of liberty ; 
let the aristocracy govern others, and there will be a speedy end of justice. 

I shall here present the passage on which those observations rest ; and the 
reader will gladly accept them in lieu of the jingling trash 1 have withdrawn. I 
may add that the Epistle to Forbes belongs to a more dignified and dif&cult class 
of composition than almost any other in Moore. There are but two or three 
examples of the kind in his works ; but they afi"ord sufficient evidence that he 
possessed a genius equal to much loftier themes than he was wont to apply himself to. 

Feom Moore's Epistle to Lord Forbes. 

Already in this free, this virtuous state. 
Which Frenchmen tell us was ordained by fate 
To show the world what high perfection springs 
From rabble senators and merchant kings — 
Even here already patriots learn to steal 
Their private perquisites from public weal, 
And, guardians of the country's sacred fire, 
Like Afric's priests, they let the flame for hire ! 
Those vaunted demagogues, who nobly rose 



I knew tliera both before they had acquired any celebrity and 
after they had attained to much. I esteemed them then, and 
haye no reason to disesteem them now : it is on their own 
account that I wish some of the compositions of both had neyer 
appeared ; and I really belieye, upon due consideration, they will 
themselves be of my way of thinking. 

I recollect Moore being one night at my house in Merrion 
Square, during the spring of his celebrity, touching the piano- 
forte, in his own unique way, to Rosa," his fayourite amatory 
sonnet : his head leant back ; now throwing up his ecstatic eyes 
to heayen, as if to inyoke refinement ; then casting them softly 
sideways, and breathing out his chromatics to eleyate, as the 
ladies said, their souls above the world, but at the same moment 
conyincing them that they were completely mortal. 

A !Mrs. Kelly, a lady then ddgc miXr, moving in the best 
society of Ireland, sat on a chair behind Moore. I watched her 
profile. Her lips quavered in imison with the piano, a sort of 
amiable convulsion now and then raising the upper from the 
under lip, composed a smile less pleasing than expressive ; her 
eye softened, glazed ; and, half melting, she whispered to herself 
the following words, which I, standing at the back of her chair, 

From England's debtors to be England's foes ; 
Who could their monarch in their purse forget, 
And break allegiance but to cancel debt, 
Have proved at length the mineral's tempting hue, 
WTiich makes a patriot, can unmake him too. 
Freedom, Freedom ! how I hate thy cant : 
Not Eastern bombast, not the savage rant 
Of jmrpled madmen, were they numbered all 
From Eoman Nero down to Russian Paul, 
Could grate upon my ear so mean, so base, 
As the dark jargon of that factious race, 
"Who, poor of heart and prodigal of words. 
Born to be slaves and struggling to be lords, 
But pant for license, while they spurn control 
And shout for rights, with rapine in their soul ! 

Lest those sentiments should be misinterpreted, I refer the reader to a very 
explicit commentary on them in Moore's equally vigorous poem Corruption. 
VOL. 1. 2 A 


baekington's peesonal sketches 

could not avoid hearing: — "Dear, dear!" lisped Mrs. Kelly, 
" Moore, this is not for the good of my soul /"* 

I greatly admire the national, indeed patriotic, idea of col- 
lecting and publishing the Irish Melodies ; and it were to be 
wished that some of them had less the appearance of having been 
written jper annum, f 

Sir John Stevenson, that celebrated warbler, has melodised 
a good many of these ; but he certainly has also melo-dram.atised 
a considerable portion of them. I think our rants and planxties 
would have answered just as well without either symphonies or 
chromatics, and that the plaintive national music of Ireland does 
not reach the heart a moment the sooner for passing through a mob 
of scientific variations, tawdry and modern upholstery would not 
be very appropriate to the ancient tower of an Irish chieftain ; and 
some of Sir John's proceedings, in melodising simplicity, remind 
me of the Eev. Mark Hare, who whitewashed the great rock of 
Cashel, to give it a genteel appearance against the visitation. 

As I do not attempt (I suppose I ought to say presume) to be 
a literary, so am I far less a musical critic, but I know what 
pleases myself, and in that species of criticism t I cannot be 
expected to yield to anybody. 

As to my own authorship, I had business more important 
than writing books in my early life ; but now, in my old days, it 
is my greatest amusement, and nothing would give me more 
satisfaction than hearing the free remarks of the critics on my 

* This rich sally was buried alive in a codicil of seven lines, which were 
retained in the second edition, revised and improved, according to the title-page ! 

f This is a jocular allusion to the arrangement between Power, the publisher 
of the Melodies, and their author. In Barrington's estimation, Moore's annuity, 
arising from the published parts, had an injurious influence on his poetical efforts. 
I have no doubt it had quite a diff'erent tendency. In the second edition the text 
is here altered, but the original note absurdly retained. 

X What pleases one's-self, pleases, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, one 
utterly unqualified to give an opinion, except for the benefit of individuals as 
happily situated as himself. Few pretend to be connoisseurs in painting, but 
every one decides boldly on poetry and music. Ears, however, are generally better 
screwed on than the heads that wear them. 




There cannot be a juster aphorism than " Poeta nascitur, non 
fit the paucity of those literary productions which deserve the 
epithet of poetry, compared with the tliousand vohimes of what 
rhyming authors call poems, forms a conclusive illustration. 

A true pod lives for ever, a poetaster just till another relieves 
him in the circulating libraries, or on the toilets of young ladies 
— used to keep them awake at night, and send them to sleep in 
the morning. 

There may possibly be three degrees of excellence in true 
poetry, but certainly no more. A fourth-rate poet must be, in 
my idea, a mere forger of rhymes, a manufacturer of versifica- 
tion. But, if he minds his prosody, and writes in a style either 
vastly interesting, immensely tender, or delightfully luxurious, 
he will probably find readers amongst the fair sex from fifteen to 

Major Pioche, an Irishman, who in 1815 printed and published 
at Paris a full and true hexameter account* of the .great battle 
of Waterloo, with his own portrait emblazoned in the front and 
the Duke of Wellington's in the rear, must certainly be held to 
exceed in ingenuity all the poets and poetasters, great and small, 
of the present generation. 

The alphabetical printed list of subscribers to his work set 
forth the name of every emperor, king, prince, nobleman, general, 
minister, and diplomatist — Eussian, Prussian, Austrian, German, 
Dutch, English, Irish, Don Cossack, etc. etc. Such an imperial, 

* Sir Jonah, had he lived, would have been surprised to see that hexameterised 
prose has become quite popular. This is taking hexameter in the classic sense ; 
but further on it will be seen that the term is used, to designate our iambic penta- 
meter, or what is commonly known as the English heroic verse. 


baekington's peksonal sketches 

royal, and everyway magnificent list, was never before, nor ever 
will be again, appended to any poem, civil, political, military, 
religious, or scientific ; and as the major thonglit very truly 
that a book so patronised and garnished must be worth at least 
fifty times as much as any other poem of the same dimensions, 
he stated that " a few copies might still be procured at tv:o 
guineas each." He succeeded admirably, and I believe got more 
money at Paris than any one of the army did at Waterloo. 

His introduction of the Duke of Wellington was well worth 
the money. He described his Grace as Mars on horseback ! 
riding helter-skelter, and charging fiercely over everything in his 
headlong course ; — friends and foes, men, women, and children, 
having no chance of remaining perpendicular if they crossed his 
way ; — his horse's hoofs striking flames of fire even out of the 
regimental buttons of the dead bodies which he galloped over ! 
whilst swords, muskets, spears, and cuirasses, pounded down by 
trampling steed, formed as it were a turnpike-road whereupon 
he seemed to fly in his endeavours to catch Buonaparte. 

I really think Major Eoche^s idea of making Lord Wellington 
Mars was a much better one than that of making him Achilles, 
as they have done at Hyde Park Corner. Paris found out the 
weak point of Achilles and finished him, but Mars is immortal ; 
and though Diomed knocked him down, neither his carcass nor 
character is a jot the worse. 

The state of the feelings and propensities of men is regulated 
by the amount of their years ; ladies, in general, stick to their 
text longest. In early youth poetry flows from natural sensa- 
tions ; and at this period verses in general have much modesty, 
much feeling, and a visible struggle to keep in with refine- 

In the next degree of age, which runs quite close upon the 
former, the scene nevertheless sadly alters. We then see plain 

* The transition, in tliis paragraph, does not owe its abruptness to the omis- 
sion of a few which preceded it in previous editions, and which were equally 
drowsy and injudicious. In such " Sketches" as these, transitions of the kind are 
to be expected. 



amatory sonnets turning poor refinement out of company, and 
showing that it was not so very pure as ^s'e liad reason to sup- 
pose, ^fext comes that stage wherein sensualists, wits, ballad- 
singers, gourmands, and most kinds of poetasters, male and 
female, give their varieties. This is rather a lasting stage, and 
gently glides into and combines with the final one, filled by 
satirists, x^salniists, epigrammatists, and other specimens of an- 
tiquity and ill-nature. But I fancy this latter must be a very 
unproductive line of versification for the w^riter, as few ladies 
ever read such things till after they begin to wear spectacles. 
Few persons like to see themselves caricatured ; and the moment 
a lady is convinced that she ceases to be an object of love, she 
fancies that, as matter of course, she at once becomes an object 
of ridicule ; so that she takes care to run no chance of reading 
to her own mortification, till she feels that it is time to com- 
mence devotee. 

Oh ! that delicious dream of life, when age is too far distant 
to be seen, and childhood fast receding from our vision — when 
Nature pauses briefly between refinement and sensuality — first 
imparting to our w^ondering senses what we are and what we 
shall be, before she consigns us to the dangerous guardianship 
of chance and of our passions ! 

That is the crisis when lasting traits of character begin to 
bud and expatiate, and every effort should then be made to crop 
and prune, and train the young shoots, whilst yet they retain 
their ductile qualities. 

During that period the youth is far too chary to avow a 
passion which he does not fully comprehend, satisfied with 
making known his feelings by delicate allusions, and thus con- 
trivmg to disclose the principle without mentioning its existence. 
All sorts of pretty sentimentalities are employed to this end ; 
shepherds and shepherdesses are pressed into the service, as are 
likewise tropes of Arcadian happiness and simplicity, with 
abundance of metaphorical roses with thorns to them — perfumes 
and flowers. 

A particular friend of mine, who, when a 3'oung man, had a 


baeeington's peesonal sketches 

great propensity to fall in love and make verses, often told me his 
whole progress in both. He entertained me one morning by show- 
ing me certain of his own effusions which tickled my curiosity. 

Before he left school he wrote the following lines on a Miss 
Lyddy St. John, who was herself a poetess of fourteen : — 


What sylph that flits athwart the air, 
Or hovers round its favourite fair, 
Can paint such charms to fancy's eye, 

Or feebly trace 

The unconscious grace 
Of her for whom I sigh ? 


As silver flakes of falling snow, 

Tell the pure sphere from whence they flow, 

So the chaste beauties of her eye 

Faintly impart 

The chaster heart 
Of her for whom I sigh.* 

Lyddy, however, objected to the last line of each stanza, as 
she did not understand what he meant by sighing for her ; and 
he not being able to solve the question, she seemed to entertain 
rather a contempt for his intellects, and palpably gave the pre- 
ference to one of his schoolfellows — a bolder boy. 

In the next stage towards maturity the poet and lover began 
to know better what he was about; and determined to pay a 
visit to the fair one, and try if any lucky circumstance might 
give him a delicate opportunity of disclosing his sentiments and 

He unfortunately found that the innocent cause of his 
torment had gone on a tour, and that his interview must be 
adjourned sine die ; however, he explored the garden, sat down 
in all the arbours, walked pensively over the flower-plats ; 
peeped into her chamber-window, which was on the ground- 
floor, and embroidered with honeysuckles and jessamine ; his 
very soul swelled with thoughts of love and rural retirement ; 

* Retained for the instruction and encouragement of the "young idea." 



and thus his heart, as it were, burst open, and let out a gush of 
poetry, which he immediately committed to writing in the garb 
of a lamentation for the fair one's absence, and forced under the 
window-frame of her bed-chamber ; after which he disconsolately 
departed, though somewhat relieved by this effort of his Muse. 
The words ran thus : — 

Lamentation of Croneroe for the Absence of its 
Sylvan Nymph. 

Ah ! where has she wander'd ? ah, where has she stray'd ? 
What clime now possesses our lost sylvan maid ? — 
No myrtle now blossoms ; no tiilip will blow ; 
And the lively arbutus now fades at Croneroe. 


No glowing carnation now waves round her seat ; 

Nor crocus, nor cowslip, weaves turf for her feet ; 

And the woodbine's soft tendrils, once train'd by her hand, 

Now wild round her arbour distractedly stand. 


Her golden-clothed fishes now deaden their hue ; 
The birds cease to warble — the wood-dove to coo ; 
The cypress spreads wide, and the willow droops low, 
And the noon's brightest ray can't enhven Croneroe. 


In the low-winding glen, all embosom'd in green. 

Where the tlirush courts her muse, and the blackbird is seen, 

The rill as it flows, limpid, silent, and slow. 

Trickles down the grey rock as the tears of Croneroe. 


Then return, sylvan maid, and the flowers will all spring, 
And the wood-dove will coo, and the linnet will sing ; 
The gold-fish will sparkle, the silver streams flow, 
And the noon-ray shine bright thro' the glen of Croneroe.* 

Nothing very interesting occurred for above two months to 

* What could Croly and Wordsworth say to this ? Is it not a description of 
nature — unaffected and unrestrained, and as true as the needle to the pole ? But 
the disciples of the subjective school would finish the faithful picture by invest- 
ing every leaf, tendril, and tint with an encyclopaedia of sentiment and philosophy 
as appropriate as the Meditations to the Broomstick. 


baerington's personal sketches 

our amorous lyrist, when he began to tire of waiting for the 
nymph of Croneroe, and grew fond of one of his own cousins, 
without being able to give any very particular reason for it, 
further than that he was becoming more and more enlightened 
in the ways of the world. But this family flame soon burnt 
itself out ; and he next fell into a sort of furious passion for a 
fine, strong, ruddy, country girl, the parson's daughter ; she was 
a capital housekeeper, and the parson himself a jolly hunting 
fellow. At his house there was a good table, and a hearty style 
of joking ; which advantages, together with a walk in the shrub- 
bery, a sillabub under the cow, and a romp in the hay-making 
field, soon sent poor refinement about its business. The poet 
became absolutely mortal, and began to write common hexame- 
ters.* However, before he was confirmed in his mortality, he 
happened one day to mention a sylph to his new sweetheart ; 
she merely replied that she never saw one, and asked her mamma 
privately what it was, who desired her never to mention such a 
word again. 

But by the time he set out for Oxford he had got tolerably 
well quit of all his ethereal visions, celestials, and snowdrops ; 
and to convince his love what an admiration he had for sensible, 
substantial beauty, like hers, he wrote the following lines on a 
blank leaf of her prayer-book, which she had left in his way, as 
if suspecting his intention : — 


EefinQinent 's a very nice thing in its way, 

And so is platonic regard ; 
Melting sympathy too — as the highfliers say — 

Is the only true theme for a bard. 
Then give them love's phantoms and flights for their pains ; 
But grant me, ye gods ! flesh and blood and blue veins, 
And dear Dolly — dear Dolly Haynes. 


I like that full fire and expression of eyes, 
Where love's true material presides ; 

* Pentameters of a short and a long syllable in each foot. 



With a glance now and then to the jellies and pies. 

To ensure ns good living besides. 
Ye refiners, take angels and sylphs for vonr pains ; 
But grant me, ye gods ! flesh and blood and blue veins, 
And dear Dolly — dear Dolly Haynes. 

I should not omit mentioning here an incident which at the 
time extremely amused me. A friend of mice, a barrister, whose 
extravagant ideas of refinement have frequently proved a source 
of great entertainment to me, was also a most enthusiastic ad- 
mirer of Mr. Thomas Moore's writings, prose and verse. I had 
read over to him the foregoing rather " of the earth, earthy " 
composition, to which he listened with a shrug of the shoulders 
and a contraction of the upper lip ; and 1 was desirous of 
drawing out his opinion thereon by adverting to his own 
favourite bard. 

" Here," said I, " we have a fine illustration of the natural 
progress from refinement to sensuality — the amalgamation of 
which principles is so beautifully depicted by Mr. Thomas 
Moore in his ' Loves of the Angels.' " 

" Your observation is just," replied my Mend ; I cannot 
conceive why those elegant amours have been so much carped 
at — since their only object is to prove that flesh and blood is in 
very high estimation even with the spirituals.'' 

" WTiat a triumph to mortality ! " replied I.* 

The poet and lover was soon fixed at the university, where 
he shortly made fast acquaintance with a couple of hot young 
Irishmen, who lost no time in easing him of the dregs of his 
sentimentality, and convinced him clearly that no rational man 
should ever be in love except when he is drunk, in which case 
it signifies little whom he falls in love with. Thus our youth 
soon forgot the parsonage, and grew enamoured of the bottle ; 
but having some lees of poetry still remaining within him, the 
classics and the wine soon set them a fermenting ; and he now 
wrote drinking-songs, hunting-songs, boating-songs, satires on 

* The balance of this dialogue was duller still ; quite a sufficient reason for 
its suppression, without any reference to the bad taste of it. What immediately 
succeeds is barely tolerable. 


bareington's personal sketches 

the shopkeepers' daughters, and lampoons on the fellows of 
Jesus and Brazennose Colleges ; answered letters in verse, and, 
in a word, turned out what the lads called a genius. 

The reverend private tutor of these young Irishmen wrote 
one day a letter to our poet in verse, inviting him to " meet at 
dinner a few fellow-countrymen just arrived." The tutor was a 
hard-going old parson, fond of wine and versification, who had 
been sent over from Ireland by the father of the two young men 
above alluded to, with direction to " take care that the lads did 
not fall into English morals, which would disqualify them ever 
after from living in their own proper country and natural society!' 
These instructions the tutor faithfully acted up to ; and the 
young poet very much amused the whole party by his humour 
and turn for rhyming ; and was compelled to swear that he 
would pay them a visit, for a couple of years, at Belturbet in 
Ireland, where they would show him what living was. Their 
father was himself dotingly fond of poetry and the bagpipes, 
and was induced to send them to Oxford only to please their 
mother s brother, who was, most unfortunately, an Englishman. 

My friend's reply to the parson's invitation was also in verse, 
and ran as follows : — it was not amiss for a young tipster, and 
smacked, in some degree, both of Oxford and " Belturbet." 

Wlien parsons and poets their functions unite, 

And court the old Muses to sing " an invite," 

The profane and the sacred connected we find, 

And are sure of a banquet to every man's mind. 

Though on Pegasus mounted, to Bacchus we fly. 

Yet we'll quaff just like Christians ; — our priest tells us why : 

" 'Tis moist hospitality banishes sin, 

'Tis the wine-open'd heart lets benevolence in." 

There — no longer — canting grace cools our spicy ragout, 

Whilst the impatient champagne bristles up all mousseu ; 

Our eyes darting toward heaven, we cry — " Come, goblets give ! 

This old pagan cream teaches Christians to live ! " 

Thus the pastor and flock will soon empty the bowl. 

And its spirit divide 'twixt the head and the soul. 

Though the Jove of our banquet no eagle can boast. 

We'll have plenty of " kites" flying all round our host : 



Midst loud peals of humour, undaunted we'll sit, 

And for flashes of lightning have flashes of wit : 

Should his Reverence perceive that our spirits are laid. 

Then hot-pepper'd devils he'll call to his aid. 

And, all Christians surpassing, old Tantalus see ! 

The more liquor he quaffs, still the drier he'll be ! 

But tvvo modes of death sinful mortals shoidd know, 

Break their necks from Pai-nassus, or drown in Bordeaux ; 

And to which of those deaths I am doom'd from on high, 

I'm sure of a parson, who'll teach me to die. 

Then who can refuse to accept of a dinner. 

Where the host is from Erin — a priest — saint — and sinner ?* 

In fact, this same friend of mine, of whose poetry, or rather 
versification, I have thus given samples to the reader, is a very 
peculiar personage : bred to a profession which he never fol- 
lowed, with ample means and no occupation, he has arrived at a 
ripe age without much increasing his stock of wisdom, or at all 
diminishing that of his peculiarity. He told me he found 
his standard relief against eimui was invoking the Muses, 
which, by ransacking his ideas and puzzling his genius, operated 
as a stimulus to his brain, and prevented that stagnation of the 
fluids which our ablest nosologists say is so often the inducement 
to suicide. My friend argues that the inexhaustible variety of 
passions, propensities, sentiments, and so forth, inherent to the 
human frame, and which poets, like noblemen's fools in days of 
yore, have a license for daubing with any colours they think 
proper, affords to the language of poetry a vast superiority over 
that of prose ; which latter being in its nature but a hum-drum 
concern, is generally expected to be reasonably correct, tolerably 
intelligible, and moderately decent; astringent qualifications 
which our modern poets appear to have conspired to disregard. 

My friend, however, observed that he himself was not 

enabled to take other than a limited advantage of this license 

inasmuch as he had been frequently jilted by the Muses, who 
never would do more than flirt with him ; and hence, for want 
of a sufficient modicum of inspiration, he was necessitated to put 

* A formidable effusion. 


bareington's personal sketches 

up with the ordinary subjects of verse — such as epigrams, satires, 
odes on natal days, epitaphs on lap-dogs and little children, 
translations of Greek songs that he never saw, and of Italian 
poetry that had never existed, etc. It was true, he went on to 
inform me, he had occasionally flown at higher game in the 
regions of poesy ; but, somehow or other, no bookseller would 
publish his effusions : one said they were too flat ; another that 
they were too elevated ; a third characterised them as too wild for 
the critics ; and a fourth pronounced them too tame for the ladies. 
At length, however, the true state of the matter was candidly 
developed by a very intelligent Presbyterian bookseller in the 
city, who told my friend that he was quite too late as to poetry, 
with which the shops w^ere crammed and the public nauseated. 

My friend was proceeding to detail further the admonitory 
conversation of this honest bibliopole, when I interrupted him 
by asking, naturally enough, how he could continue to derive 
any pleasure from a pursuit in which he admitted himself to 
have been so very unsuccessful ? to which he adroitly replied, 
" On the very same principle that a bad shot may have just as 
much amusement as a capital sportsman ; perhaps more, — one 
good hit being as gratifying to him as twenty to an undeviating 
slaughterer." I coincided in my friend's remark, adding, that 
the same sort of observation would apply to random jokers as 
well as rhymesters ; and that I have more than once absolutely 
envied the inordinate happiness of a universal punster when he 
chanced to say anything that had a symptom of wit in it. 

My friend then, gravely opening his portfolio, selected two of 
his productions, which he gave me permission to publish, par- 
ticularly as one of them had been most abruptly rejected by an 
eminent newspaper, and the other by a magazine of considerable 

The intended Magazine article ran as follows:— 

The Highlander. 

A sans culotte from Caledonia's wilds, 
Kasp'd into form by Nature s roughest files, 



Hearing of savoury meats — of monies made — 

Of unsmoked women — and of gaining trade ; 

Eesolved, from sooty cot, to seek a town, 

And to the lowlands boldly stump it do^^^l. 

But then, alas ! his garb would never do : — 

The greasy kilt, bare loins, and tatter'd shoe : 

Yet urged to better food and better fame, 

He borrow'd breeches and assumed a name ; 

Then truck'd his kilt, garter'd his motley hose, 

New nail'd his heels, and caped the peeping toes. 

His freckled fist a swineherd's bludgeon wields, — 

His tried companion through the sties and fields, 

(Full many a jeering clovro. had felt its sway) 

Now to a cane promoted, helps its master's way. 

Full fifty bawbees Sandy had in store. 

And piteous tales had raised him fifty more : 

His knife, his pipe, and eke his baubee bank, 

In Basil pouch huijg dangling from his flank : 

No empty wallet on his shoulder floats : 

Hard eggs, soft cheese, tobacco, salt, and oats, 

Cramm'd in one end, wagg'd o'er his brawny chest, 

And what was once a blanket poised the rest ; 

Thus wealthy, victuall'd, proud, content, and gay, 

Down Grampian's sterile steeps young Sandy wound his way. 

Hail food ! hail raiment ! hail that happy lot 

Which lured such genius from the smoky cot, 

To mingle in the ranks of breeches'd men. 

And coin a name and family again !* 

AVhere famed St. Andrew's turrets tower on high ; 

Where learned doctors lecture, doze, and die ; 

Where Knowledge sleeps, and Science seeks repose, 

And mouldering halls more moiddering heads disclose, — 

Where Roman Virgil pipes in Celtic verse. 

And Grecian Homer sings to gods in Erse ; — 

'Twas there that Sandy form'd his worldly creed, 

Brush'd gowns, swept book-shelves, learn'd to shave and read : 

From craft to craft his willing genius rose ; 

When cash was scarce he wisely wrought for clothes. 

And thread-bare trophies, once the kirkmen's pride, 

Mickle by mickle swell'd his wallet's side. 

* So far, those verses, though not very polished, are animated and picturesque. 


barrington's personal sketches 

Well turn'd, well wasli'd, the rags denied their age, 

Whilst Sandy's granite visage aped the sage. 

Here, great Lavater ! here thy science stands 

Confess'd, and proved by more than mortal hands. 

Though o'er his features Nature's art we see, 

Her deepest secrets are disclosed through thee. 

The green- tinged eye, curl'd lip, and lowering brows, 

Which malice harrows, and which treachery ploughs, 

In deep-sunk furrows on his front we find, 

Tilling the crops that thrive in Sandy's mind. 

No soft sensations can that face impart ; 

No gratitude springs glowing from the heart ; 

As deadly night-shade creeping on the ground. 

He tries to poison what he cannot wound. 

Yet Sandy has a most consistent mind. 

Too low to rise, too coarse to be refined. 

Too rough to polish, and too loose to bind : 

The other trifle is a mere jeu d'es;prit, and cannot be dis- 
agreeable to anybody, unless it may be taken amiss by some 
West Indian proprietor, whose probable touchiness at the intro- 
duction of the word slavery I do not feel called on to compas- 


Bir Sidney Smith and Miss Rumhold. 

Says Sidney — " I'll put all white slavery down ; 

All Europe I'll summon to arms ;" 
But fair Kumbold replied — " Til reverse the renown ; 

For all men shall be slaves to my charms." 

If thus, lovely champion, that tongue and those eyes 

Can set all mankind by the ears ; 
Go — fire off your glances, explode a few sighs. 

And make captive the Dey of Algiers ! 
Thus you'll rival Sir Sidney in glory and gains ; 
He may conquer the tyrant — you'll lead him in chains.* 

* The extract from the poem of Boadicea, which appeared in the previous 
editions, does not, as the newspapers say, suit our columns. Requiescat in pace. 




From my youth I was attached to theatrical representations, and 
have still a clear recollection of many of the eminent performers 
of my early days. My grandmother, with whom I resided for 
many years, had silver tickets of admission to Crow Street 
Theatre, whither I was very frequently sent. 

The playhouses in Dublin were then lighted with tallow 
candles, stuck into tin circles hanging from the middle of the 
stage, which were every now and then snuffed by some per- 
former ; and two soldiers, with fixed bayonets, always stood like 
statues on each side the stage, close to the boxes, to keep the 
audience in order. The galleries were very noisy and very droll. 
The ladies and gentlemen in the boxes always went dressed out 
nearly as for court ; the strictest etiquette and decorum were 
preserved in that circle ; whilst the pit, as being full of critics 
and wise men, was particularly respected, except when the young 
gentlemen of the University occasionally forced themselves in to 
revenge some insult, real or imagined, to a member of their 
body ; on which occasions all the ladies, well-dressed men, and 
peaceable people generally, decamped forthwith ; and the young 
gentlemen as generally proceeded to beat or turn out the residue 
of the audience, and to break everything that came within their 
reach. These exploits were by no means uncommon ; and the 
number and rank of the young culprits were so great, that the 
college would have been nearly depopulated, and many of the 
great families in Ireland enraged beyond measure, had the 
students been expelled or even rusticated. 

I had the honour of being frequently present, and giving a 
helping hand to our encounters both in the playhouses and 
streets. We were in the habit of going about the latter on dark 


bareington's personal sketches 

niglits, in coaclies, flinging out halfpence, and breaking the 
windows of all the houses we rapidly drove by, to the astonish- 
ment and terror of the proprietors. At other times we used to 
convey gunpowder squibs into all the lamps in several streets at 
once, and by longer or shorter fusees contrive to have them all 
burst about the same time, breaking every lamp to shivers and 
leaving whole streets in utter darkness. Occasionally we threw 
large crackers into the china and glass-shops, and delighted to 
see the terrified shopkeepers trampling on their own porcelain 
and cut-glass, for fear of an explosion. By way of a treat we 
used sometimes to pay the watchmen to lend us their cloaks and 
rattles, by virtue whereof we broke into the low prohibited 
gambling-houses, knocked out the lights, drove the gamblers 
down stairs, and then gave all their stakes to the watchmen. 
The whole body of watchmen belonging to one parish (that of 
the Eound Church) were our sworn friends, and would take our 
part against any other watchmen in Dublin. "We made a perma- 
nent subscription, and paid each of these regularly seven shil- 
lings a-week for his patronage. I mention these trifles out of a 
thousand odd pranks as a part of my plan, to show, from a com- 
parison of the past with the present state of society in the Irish 
metropolis, the extraordinary improvement which has taken 
place, in point of decorum, within the last half-century. The 
young gentlemen of the University then were in a state of great 
insubordination, not as to their learning, but their wild habits. 
Indeed, the singular feats of some of them would be scarcely 
credible now ; and they were so linked together, that an offence 
to one was an offence to all. There were several noblemen's 
sons with their gold-laced, and elder sons of baronets with their 
silver-laced gowns, who used to accompany us, with their gowns 
turned inside out ; yet our freaks arose merely from the fire and 
natural vivacity of uncontrolled youth ; no calm deliberate vices, 
no low meannesses, were ever committed ; that class of young 
men now termed dandies, we then called macaronies, and we 
made it a standing rule to thrash them whenever we got a fair 
opportunity. Such also as had been long tied to their " mother's 



apron-strings" we made no small sport with when \ye got them 
clear inside the college. We called them milk-sops, and if they 
declined drinking as much wine as ordered, we always dosed 
them, as in duty bound, with tumblers of salt and water, till they 
came to their feeding, as we called it. Thus generally com- 
menced a young man of fashion's novitiate about fifty years ago. 
However, our wildness, instead of increasing as we advanced in 
our college courses, certainly diminished, and often left behind 
it the elements of much talent and virtue. Indeed, I believe 
there were, to the full, as good scholars, and certainly to the full 
as high gentlemen, educated in the Dublin University then, as 
in this wiser and more cold-blooded era. 

I remember, even before that period, seeing old Mr. Sheridan 
perform the part of Cato at one of the Dublin theatres. I do not 
recollect which ; but I well recollect his dress, which consisted 
of bright armour under a fine laced scarlet cloak, and surmounted 
by a huge, wdiite, bushy, well-powdered wig, over which was 
stuck his helmet. I wondered much how he could kill himself 
without stripping off the armour before he performed that 
operation ! I also recollect him particularly playing Alexander 
tJie Great, and throwing the javelin at Cli/his, whom happening 
to miss, he hit tlie cup-bearer, then played by one of the hack 
performers, a Mr. Jemmy FottereL Jemmy very naturally sup- 
posed that he was hit designedly, and that it was some new light 
of the great Mr. Sheridan to slay the cup-bearer in preference to 
his friend Clytibs, and that therefore he ought to tumble down 
and make a painful end, according to dramatic custom. Imme- 
diately, therefore, on being struck, he reeled, and fell very 
naturally, considering it was his first death ; but being deter- 
mined on this unexpected opportunity to make an impression 
upon the audience, he began to roll about, kick, and flap the 
stage with his hands ; falling next into strong convulsions, 
exhibiting every symptom of torture, and at length expiring 
with a groan so loud and so long that it paralysed even the 
people in the galleries, whilst the ladies, believing he was really 
killed, cried aloud. 

VOL. I. 2 b 



Though then very young, I was myself so terrified in the pit 
tha,t I never shall forget it. However, Jemmy Fotterel was, in 
the end, more applauded than any Clytus had ever been, and 
even the murderer himself could not help laughing heartily at 
the incident. 

The actresses both of tragedy and genteel comedy formerly 
wore large hoops, and whenever they made a speech walked 
across the stage aad changed sides with the performer who was 
to speak next, thus veering backwards and forwards, like a 
shuttlecock, during the entire performance. This custom par- 
tially prevailed in the continental theatres till very lately. 

I recollect Mr. Barry, who was really a remarkably hand- 
some man, and his lady (formerly Mrs. Dancer) ; also Mr. Digges, 
who used to play the Ghost in Hamlet." One night in doubling 
that part with Polonius, Digges forgot, on appearing as the 
Ghost, previously to rub off the bright red paint with which his 
face had been daubed for the other character. A spirit with a 
large red nose and vermilioned cheeks was extremely novel and 
much applauded. There was also a famous actor who used to 
play the Coch^ that crew to call off the Ghost when Hamlet had 
done with him. This performer did his part so well that every- 
body used to say he was the best Goch that ever had been heard 
at Smock-alley, and six or eight other gentry of the dunghill 
species were generally brought behind the scenes, who, on 
hearing him, mistook him for a brother cock, and set up their 
pipes all together. And thus, by the infinity of crowing at the 
same moment, the hour was the better marked, and the Ghost 
glided back to the other world in the midst of a perfect chorus 
of cocks, to the no small admiration of the audience. 

Of the distinguishing merits of the old actors, or indeed of 
many of the more modern ones, I profess myself but a very 

* In Dublin there is great value set on tliis cliaracter. Sucli is tlie national 
hilarity, a really good Cock is heard with as much enthusiasm as would Garrick. 
A bad Cock meets no mercy. From one side of the gallery a critic cried out — 

"That's a d d bad Cock ! " "No he isn't," was answered from the opposite, 

" she's a hen !" 



moderate judge. One thing, however, I am sure of, that, man or 
boy, I never admired tragedy, however well personated. Lofty 
feelings and strong passions may be admirably mimicked therein ; 
but the ranting, whining, obviously premeditated starting, dis- 
ciplined gesticulation, etc. — the committing of suicide in melli- 
fluous blank verse, and rhyming when in the agonies of death — 
stretch away so far from nature, as to destroy all that illusion 
whereon the effect of dramatic exhibition in my mind entirely 
depends. Unless occasionally to witness some very celebrated 
new actor, I have not attended a tragedy these forty years ; nor 
have I ever yet seen any tragedian on the British stage who 
made so decided an impression on my feelings as Mr. Kean, in 
some of his characters, has done. "When I have seen other 
celebrated men enact the same parts, I have remained quite 
tranquil, however my judgment may have been satisfied. But 
he has made me shudder, and that, in my estimation, is the 
grand triumph of the actor's art. 1 have seldom sat out the last 
murder scene of any play except " Tom Thumb," or " Chronon- 
hotonthologos," which certainly are no burlesques on some of our 
standard trai^edies. 

Kean'SvMy^ocZ:, and Sir (riles Overreach seemed to me neither 
more nor less than actual identification of those portraitures ; so 
much so, in fact, that I told him myself, after seeing him per- 
form the first-mentioned part, that I could have found in my 
heart to knock his brains out the moment he had finished his 

Two errors, however, that great actor has in a remarkable 
degree : some of his pause-s are so long that he appears to have 
forgotten himself ; and he i)ats his breast so often that it really 
reminds one of a nurse patting her infant to keep it from squall- 
ing : it is a pity he is not aware of these imperfections ! 

K, however, I have been always inclined to undervalue 
tragedy, on the other hand, all the comic performers of my time 
in Ireland I perfectly recollect.* I allude to the days of Eyder, 
O'Keefe, AVilks, Wilder, Yandermere, etc. etc. etc. 

* As racy of the soil as any sentence in the volume. I can't find it in my 
heart to tonch it but rererently. 


barrington's personal sketches 

The effect produced by even one actor, or one trivial incident, 
is sometimes surprising. The dramatic trifle called "Paul Pry" 
has had a greater run * I believe, than any piece of the kind 
ever exhibited in London. I went to see it, and was greatly 
amused — not altogether by the piece, but by the ultra oddity of 
one performer. Put any handsome, or even human-looking 
person in Listen's place, and take away his umbrella, and Paul 
Pry would scarcely bring another audience. His countenance 
certainly presents the drollest set of stationary features I ever 
saw, and has the uncommon merit of being exquisitely comic 
per se, without the slightest distortion : no artificial grimace, in- 
deed, could improve his natural. I remember O'Keefe, justly 
the delight of Dublin ; and Eyder, the best Sir John Bi^ute, 
Banger, Marplot, etc., in the world : the prologue of Bucks, have 
at ye All !" was repeated by him four hundred and twenty-four 
times, t O'Keefe's Tony Lumpkin, Vandermere's Skirmish, 
WildeT's Colonel Oldboy, etc. etc., came as near nature as acting 
and mimicry could possibly approach. There was also a first 
edition of Listen as to drollery, on the Dublin stage, usually 
called " Old Sparkes." He was very tall, and of a very large 
size, with heavy-hanging jaws, gouty ankles, big paunch, and 
sluggish motion ; but his comic face and natural drollery were 
irresistible. He was a most excellent actor in everything he 
could personate : his grotesque figure, however, rendered these 
parts but few. Peachum, in the ''Beggar's Opera," Caliban 
(with his own additions), in " The Tempest," and all bulky, droll, 
low characters, he did to the greatest perfection. At one time, 
when the audiences of Smock-alley were beginning to flag, Old 
Sparkes told Eyder if he would bring out the after-piece of 
" The Padlock," and permit him to manage it, he would ensure 
him a succession of good nights. Eyder gave him his way, and 
the bills announced a first appearance in the part of Leonora : 
the debutante was reported to be a Spanish lady. The public 
curiosity was excited, and youth, beauty, and tremulous modesty 

* How often performed is a peg for new editorship, 
t Which brings his real merit justly into question. 



were all anticipated ; the house overflowed ; impatience was un- 
bounded ; the play ended in confusion, and the overture of " The 
Padlock'' was received with rapture. Leonora at length ap- 
peared ; the clapping was like thunder, to give courage to the 
debutante, who had a handsome face, and was very beautifully 
dressed as a Spanish Donna, which it was supposed she really 
was. Her gigantic size, it is true, rather astonished the audience. 
However, they willingly took for granted that the Spaniards 
were an immense people, and it was observed that England must 
have had a great escape of the Spanish Armada, if the men were 
proportionably gigantic to the ladies. Her voice too was rather 
of the hoarsest, but that was accounted for by the sudden change 
of climate : at last Leonora began her song of " Sweet Eobin" — 

Say, little foolish fluttering thing, 
Whither, ah I whither would you wing ? 

and at the same moment Leonora's mask falling off, Old Sparkes 
stood confessed, with an immense gander which he brought from 
under his cloak, and which he had trained to stand on his hand 
and screech to his voice, and in chorus with himself The whim 
took : the roar of laughter was quite inconceivable : he had also 
got !Mungo played by a real black : and the whole was so extrava- 
gantly ludicrous, and so entirely to the taste of the Irish 
galleries at that time, that his " Sweet Eobin" was encored, and 
the frequent repetition of the piece replenished poor Eyder's 
treasury for the residue of the season. 

I think about that time Mr. John Johnstone was a dragoon. 
His mother was a very good sort of woman, whom I remember 
extremely well Between fifty and sixty years ago she gave me 
a Kttle book, entitled The History of the Seven Champions of 
Christendom," which I have to this day. She used to call at my 
grandmother's, to sell run muslins, etc., which she carried about 
her hips in great wallets, passing them off for a hoop. She was 
called by the old women, in pleasantry, " Mull and Jacconot 
sold great bargains, and was a universal favourite with the ladies. 
Young Johnstone Avas a remarkably genteel well-looking lad ; he 


bareington's personal sketches 

used to bring presents of trout to my grandmother, which he 
caught in the great Canal then going on close to Dublin. He 
soon went into the army : but having a weakness in his legs, he 
procured a speedy discharge, and acquired eminence on the Irish 

I never happened to encounter Mr. Johnstone in private 
society till we met at dinner at Lord Barrymore's, in 1812, where 
Colonel Bloomfield, my friend Mr. Eichard Martin, now justly 
called Humanity Martin, and others, were assembled. I was 
glad to meet the distinguished comedian, and mentioned some 
circumstances to him which proved the extent of my memory. 
He sang that night as sweetly as ever I heard him on the stage, 
and that is saying much. 

Mr. Johnstone was a truly excellent performer of the more 
reiined species of Irish characters but ISTature had not given 
him enough of that original shoulder-twist, and what they call 
the potheen-twang," which so strongly characterise the genuine 
national vis comica of the lower orders of Irish. In this respect, 
perhaps, Owenson was superior to him, of whom the reader will 
find a more detailed account in a future page. 

ISFo modern comedy, in my mind, equals those of the old 
writers. The former are altogether devoid of that high-bred, 
witty playfulness of dialogue so conspicuous in the works of the 
latter. Gaudy spectacle, common-place claptraps, and bad puns, 
together with forced or mongrel sentiment, have been substituted 
to " make the unskilful laugh," and to the manifest sorrow of 
the ''judicious." Perhaps so much the better: — as, although 
there are now most excellent scene-painters and fire-workers, 
the London stage appears to be almost destitute of competent 
performers in the parts of genuine comedy, and the present 
London audiences seem to prefer gunpowder, resin, brimstone, 
musketry, burning castles, and dancing ponies, to any human or 
Christian entertainments, evidently despising all those high- 
finished comic characters, which satisfy the understanding and 
owe nothing to the scenery. 

* Many exquisite specimens of which have been painted by the patriotic Carleton. 



There is another species of theatrical representation extant 
in France — namely, scriptural pieces ; lialf burlesque, half melo- 
drame. These are undoubtedly among the drollest things ima- 
ginable ; mixing up in one imconnected mass, tragedy, comedy, 
and farce, painting, music, scenery, dress and undress, decency 
and indecency ! * 

I have seen many admirable comedians on the Continent. 
Nothing can possibly exceed INIademoiselle Mars, for instance, 
in many characters ; but the French are all actors and actresses 
from their cradles ; and a great number of performers, even at 
the minor theatres, seem to me to forget that they are playing, and 
at times nearly make the audience forget it too ! Their spectacle 
is admirably good ; their dancing excellent, and their dresses 
beautiful. Their orchestras are well filled, in every sense of the 
word, and the level of musical composition not so low as some of 
Mt. Bishop's effusions. Their singing, however, is execrable ; 
their tragedy rant ; but their prose comedy very nature itself ! 

In short, the French beyond doubt exceed all other people in 
the world with regard to theatrical matters ; and as every man, 
woman, and child in Paris is equally attached to spectacle, every 
house is full, every company encouraged, all tastes find some 
gratification. An Englishman can scarcely quit a Parisian 
theatre, without having seen himself or some of his family caioi- 
tally represented: the Anglais supply certainly an inexhaustible 
source of French mimicry ; and as we cannot help it, do what 
we will, our countrymen now begin to practise the good sense of 

* *' Samson pulling down the hall of the Philistines" is the verj^ finest piece of 
spectacle that can be conceived ! — " Susannah and the Elders" is rather too naked 
a concern for the English ladies to look at, unless through their fans : transparent 
ones have lately been invented, to save the expense of blushes at the theatres, etc. 
But the most whimsical of their scriptural dramas is the exhibition of Noah as a 
shipbuilder, preparatory to the deluge. He is assisted by large gangs of angels 
working as his journeymen, whose great solicitude is to keep their wings clear out 
of the way of their hatchets, etc. At length the whole of them strike and turn out 
for wages, till the arrival of a body of gens d'armes immediately brings them to 
order, by whom they are threatened to be sent back to heaven if they do not 
behave themselves ! — {Author's note. ) 

376 barrington's peesonal sketches of his own times. 

laughing at it themselves ! John Bull thinks that roast beef is 
the finest dish in the whole world, and that the finest fellow in 
Europe is the man that eats it : on both points the Frenchman 
begs leave, tout a fait, to differ with John ; and nothing can be 
sillier than to oppose opinions with a positive people, in their 
own country, and who never yet, right or wrong, gave up an 


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